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Innovation typology in tourism

innovation in services and innovation in manufacturing are not identical, neither are they completely different. Therefore, several theories might be applied to both sectors.

The view of this master thesis agrees with the synthesis approach and applies it to the tourism industry. Thus, characteristics of innovation in tourism might not be exclusive for the tourism industry. They might be identified in other service or manufacturing activities as well. Similarly, properties of innovation in manufacturing and in services might be adapted to the processes of technological change in tourism.

Concerning the tourism industry, Hjalager (2002) points out that the determinants of innovation can also be found outside the tourism sector. Consequently, it is important to enhance innovation through the interaction with other actors that might not be directly related to the tourism industry, but that can provide new knowledge to the sector.

Thus, the spatial specificity of innovation in the tourism sector is crucial in the study of innovation in tourism. In this regard, the role of the public sector, the contribution of tourists to innovation, the interaction with other actors of the destination, or the interaction and networking with other destinations are important aspects to take into consideration.

Another topic that must be considered in the study of tourism innovation is that of technology. There is a common belief that technology is only related to high-tech developments. Nevertheless, low-technologies must also be taken into consideration in services. The approach of this master thesis regards technology as several forms of applied knowledge. Therefore, in technologies are included knowledge embodied in artefacts as well as in intangibles, such as procedures, activities, techniques, methodologies, skills or competences.

It is also necessary to indicate that the term organization is used in this study in order to include diverse forms of private and public entities. This is motivated by the fact that in the tourism sector several types of organizations must be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, a more specific terminology is often used to emphasize which type of organization is being considered, e.g. private firm, non-profit organization, university, research centre, etc.

Regarding the purposes of this master thesis, these are to study in detail several of the topics indicated before and to develop a framework on the topic of innovation in tourism. First, some subjects are analyzed in detail: innovation types, innovation determinants, measurement of innovation, and typology of innovative organizations in the tourism sector. Second, this master thesis aims to provide a conceptual framework for further empirical research. The results of this master thesis might be a contribution for academics as well as for the tourism industry.

The main contributions of the master thesis to the theory of innovation in tourism are: the identification of different types of innovations, the classification of the determinants of innovation at organizational and macro level, and the development of an innovation typology for the tourism sector.


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