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Innovation systems in tourism

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This paper will talk about innovation system in tourism development by introducing an innovation model to attract tourism to destination. The model called attractor-based innovation system that is included different parts such as attractor, scene, scene-maker, scene-taker and the arrangement between tourist and other firms. The aim of the study is to scrutinize how the innovation system in tourism can promote tourism firms and extend an attractor-based tourism innovation system in the destination. The paper will examine implementation of such an innovation system in two examples of destinations around the world. The connection between scene-maker and scene-taker will investigate to realize the creation of local networks. The tourist development could depend on the connection between tourism and attractor-based innovation system in the region.


Tourism industry is growing faster and faster every day and innovation system plays an important role in tourism development. In this paper, I introduce a model that called attractor-based innovation system that is included different parts such as attractor, scene, scene-maker, scene-taker and the arrangement between tourist and other firms.

The innovation system focus on service products, market change, customer behavior and changing the processes, for instance replace new goods, services, organizations etc. The concept of innovation may focus on the process change although process will be connected to innovation systems.

“ Innovation refers to the process of bringing any new, problem solving idea into use. Ideas for reorganizing, cutting cost, putting in new budgetary systems, improving communication or assembling products in teams are also innovations. Innovation is the generation, acceptance and implementation of new ideas, processes, products or services… Acceptance and implementation is central to this definition; it involves the capacity to change and adapt” (Hjalager cited in Kanter, cited from Hall & Williams Hall and Williams, 2008 C. M. Hall and A. M. Williams, Tourism and innovation, Routledge, London (2008). , 2008, p 5).

It has been investigated that innovation hypothesis promoted in connection with manufacturing segment can be implemented to service segment for instance tourism. Service innovations are seldom R&D (Research and Development) based, but running by applied experiences. Innovation in services is incremental which means services and processes are rarely changed. Usually, the process of innovation for service firm is lesser than manufacturing firm because of smaller standard size.

I will investigate that scene-taker as an organization and entrepreneur make an essential role in innovation systems in developing the scene. The purpose of the research is how the tourism innovation system may promote the development of tourism firms.

Literature review

It has been discussed that innovation hypothesis developed in connection with industrialized sector might be utilize in service sector for instance tourism industry (Gallouj, 2002; Vermeulen, 2002). There are some general features for service innovation in tourism, which depends on type of innovation in manufacturing sector (Boden and Miles, 2000).

Innovation in services is coming to flexible aspects of innovation rather than practical manufacturing innovation. For instance, organizational and natural innovation is focusing on social issues rather than technological innovation in industries (Tether, 2005; Gallouj, 2002).

However, innovation may depend on organizational change that related to association between complexes of firms, it also needs support from stakeholders (Sundbo et al., 2001).

However, services and manufacturing have similarities in their basic structure for innovation system, for instance, innovation in product and process are more incorporated in services and service firms are structuring the innovation activities that mean they develop research and development sector. Service innovations are more focusing on developing Information Technology (IT) for service firms (Miles, 1993).

I need to give clear definition of tourism in this part. ” Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes.” (Mattsson, Jan , Sundbo, Jon and Fussing-Jensen, Christjan cited in WTO, 1991)

I need to clarify the meaning of tourism firms. According to Leiper (1999) ” The tourist industry consists of all those firms, organizations and facilities which are intended to serve the specific needs and wants of tourists.” Developing research for tourism innovation has been limited. Hjalager (1997, 2002) has investigated innovation development in tourism sector and he has concluded that innovation policies must focus on other sectors, which are supporting sustainability concept.

Poon (1990, 1993) has investigated diffusion of innovation in tourism sector and he examined the development of small firms in tourism. Sunbo (1998) and Jensen (2001) have studied the possibility of using network for small firms in tourism sector and they concluded that small firms in tourism part are less innovative than small firms in other sectors.

Product and process innovation related to change in the product or process chain, which represent new products to customer or new service in specific destination or enterprise. In customer purchase decision, product and process innovations might play a significant role in tourism sector (Hjalager, 2010).

Process innovations refer typically to backstage initiatives that aim at growing efficiency, production and flow. Technology investments are the anchor of typical process innovation, occasionally in mixture with reengineered layouts for manual work operations. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been the base of many process innovations in current decades, and it has involved a major strand of research interest with its own agendas and institutions (Buhalis & Law, 2008).

For instance, process innovation can be established permeating into visitor attractions for the targets of crowd organize. Process innovations which address energy consumption and climate impacts are on the future program for many types of tourism enterprise and not least transportation (Peeters, Gössling, & Becken, 2006).

Experts have considered science and technology as driving forces for innovation, but they recognize environmental factors such as market changes and political issues as contributors. It has concluded that market demand is a major point-de-fix in typical tourism research, and is clearly considered the single most significant driving force for innovation ([Buhalis, 2000] and [Hall and Williams, 2008]).

Process innovations occur broadly in tourism. With an example from winter sports that scrutinize how ski lift capacity is a serious factor in process efficiency and that selection of technology for that reason is critical. Airports implement a variety of technologies that guarantee the mobility of people, baggage, goods and information, in order to improve the challenges of transportation. During recent years, and for a number of purposes, new types of technology have entered airports, for instance, iris-recognition and X-raying ([Cydesdale , 2007] and [Sheller & Urry, 2006]).

According to Pine & Gilmore (1999), “ Experiences are a fourth economic offering, as distinct from services as services are from goods, but one that has until now gone largely unrecognized.” “ Goods are tangible products that companies standardize and then inventory and services are intangible activities performed for particular client.” (Pine & Gilmore, 1999, P: 2-9)

The concept of innovation system emphasizes the innovation and learning features of the systems. Usually, a system engaged in a type of cluster, special firms, public institutions and other actors that are participate in an interaction system (Porter, 1990; Maskell, 2001). In this system, knowledge is diffused and association recognized, in cooperation enhancing the innovation activities of the firms involved. The innovation system might be considered as a learning system ( Maskell, 2001).

The common notion of an innovation system as performed to the tourism segment suggests a system that is more insecurely coupled than in industrialized and other services (Jensen, 2001; Jensen et al., 2001; Hjalager, 2002) and might more properly be termed a network.

However, the notion of an attractor-based innovation system in tourism sector that I will recommend in this paper is different from the common innovation system approach performed to tourism. It is more precise since it identifies an obvious originator of the innovation system for instance the attractor and the scene-maker and it introduce development process in the model for instance a scene-taker taking over from the scene-maker and making local networks. Accordingly, an attractor-based tourism model is one example of the common innovation system in tourism sector.

After reviewing literature related to innovation system in tourism, the aim of the study will be to expand an innovation model in tourism that has been called attractor- based innovation system. It will continue by investigating two case studies around the world. I have chosen them since I could easily find out the attractor in the cases. I will carry on by introducing different mechanism of the model. The study will focus on investigating the operation of such an innovation model in the long term according to economic and social aspects. I propose to make a comparative analysis between the cases and investigating the operation of the model in different situation and in variety of destination.

Introducing an attractor-based innovation system model

The tourism development, which is, growth in proceeds and revenue and qualitative regeneration, needs innovations. The tourism development in a region may not exactly belong to innovation by a particular tourism firm. Somewhat, it can be dependent on other surrounding factors in the particular area. This geographical area may not, be seen absolutely as a special destination.

However, the purpose of the study has not been to investigate destination’s features, but in the tourism innovation systems such as the attractor – based innovation system must not be limited to just one destination. According to destination’s meaning, the system can be physically dispersed to comprise several destinations or only a part of a destination.

In order to investigate the model I need to focus on both innovation and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs develop the innovative courage and the essential structures, procure the knowledge and maybe project capital. Therefore, entrepreneurship is the main requirement for innovation. A community entrepreneur could be defining as a social leader who is constructing networks in the best way.

According to figure 1, the model of attractor-based tourism innovation system is constructed: attractor, scene, scene-maker, scene-taker and cooperative networks between the scene-taker and tourism firms. I will focus on one purpose of the model that called scene-taker, who plays an important role to maintain the system. Nevertheless, I will carry on by explaining components of the model.

The attractor is defined as an event, movement, association or the like that absorbs people to the destination. Attractors generate attention; it is not necessary for them to have special connection with tourism. For instance, the head offices of a famous business or a famous sporting event like

(Mattsson, Jan, Sundbo, Jon and Fussing-Jensen, Christjan, 2005)

The Olympic Games generate large numbers of visitations. Another example could be a music festival in special destination in limited time that we call it cultural or entertainment event.

The attractor transformation happens when it is connected to a situation, what I have called a scene. It includes giving the attractor a clear place and identity in the destination. The main framework for the whole experience of visitors may happen when the attractor is transfigured into a scene. Therefore, the scene is a symbol for the way the attractor integrated with its surrounding situation and conceptualized.

The scene-maker is the person who is creating the scene and he investigates the possibilities of applying the attractor for improved visitation. Since the scene-maker establish and conceptualizes the scene, he can be an innovator. He could be an entrepreneur, he may not maintain the scene and he may not be part of tourism section or he may not profit from the generated scene individually. The scene-maker can be an individual, or an organization, a personal firm or a community.

A scene-taker is a part of model’s function, which can be an individual, a personal firm or a community that is capable to take over and continue from that of the scene-maker. The scene-taker has entrepreneurial personality no matter even if it is a person or an organization. The scene-taker is determined and efforts to maintain the scene. The Scene-taker’s operations may make profit for personal tourism firm by becoming component of a collaborative network rising on the scene.

Propositions connected to model of attractor-based tourism innovation system listed below:

  • All components of the model must be present to ensure economic and social viability.
  • The scene-taker is the most crucial function.
  • A scene must have been created before the transition from the scene-maker to the scene-taker can take place.
  • If a scene-taker is present, tourism firms get more business if they make an active effort to utilize the scene.
  • Successful utilization of the attractor (positive effects economically or socially) requires innovation in the tourism firms.
  • Successful utilization of the attractor (positive effects economically or socially) requires a collaborative network between the tourism firms.
  • Conservatism of tourism firms in relating to local firms in other sectors impedes attractor utilization.” (Mattsson, Jan, Sundbo, Jon and Fussing-Jensen, Christjan, 2005)

Case studies

I have chosen two case studies which are called James bond island in Thailand and the Book town Hay-on-Wye in United Kingdom. I will explain two cases to understand function of the innovation system and relation between scene-making and scene taking parts. The main reason for case selection was the attractor entity. In the case of Hay-on-Wye, an entrepreneur develops his idea to become a traditional trader. Accidentally he became an owner of the big book collection. Therefore, he started to sell second-hand books and he made the city like book town. He became a major book trader and he promoted the proposal of book towns worldwide. In the James Bond Island case, a local tour operator got used the name of James bond as a trade name for boat trips to this island in Thailand. He used the reality that a scene in one James Bond film had produced in this island. The following data according to cases and respondents opinion has been collected.

According to table 1, we understand how the model according to proposition dealing with economic and social condition. Data collected according to interviewing respondents and they were asking to talk about specific incidents relevant to different parts of model. Respondents must have experiments about events that they were asking about that. The focus was on the connection between events, attractor and other parts of model. For instance, events on how the scene-maker produced the scene from the attractor and relevant to the events situation shifting from scene-maker to scene-taker.

Examining the prepositions

According to preposition 1, an attractor-based model has had positive result in both cases that means attractor as the main part of the model has made business improved. According to preposition 2, the model has had positive effect. The scene-taker can be an individual or organization that in both cases has been an entrepreneur. Relevant to preposition 3, which is focusing on shifting from scene creation to a scene-taker has been successful in both cases. Therefore, in James Bond Island and Hay-on-Wye a scene has been created. According to preposition 4, the positive activity of the firms has not relied. Regarding proposition 5, for the case of James Bond Island, the innovation actions of tourism firms has been positive and in the case of Hay-on-Wye there is no innovation action. About preposition 6, in both cases there is shared association between tourism firms but no connection between tourism firms and other firms. In conclusion, the preposition 7 which in conservatism within tourism firms and other parts have been positive in both cases. Therefore, the scene-taker has a significant effect in innovation system. Innovation depended on positive effect of the attractor in the model.



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