Innovation and Diffusion - Different Roles in Developing Nature-Based Tourism
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Original versionThe Open Social Science Journal 2010(3):30-40 10.2174/1874945301003010030
Tourism is a labour-intensive industry with the potential to contribute towards the creation of jobs and economic development in many rural areas. Innovation may be a driver of growth in tourism as well. However, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about innovation as a driver of growth in tourism, and its implications for a specific branch of tourism. The present study explores innovation and its characteristics in nature based tourism and the roles various actors can play in innovation processes. The empirical basis of the paper is a case study of sea-fishing tourism in Norway. The case includes a study of 12 suppliers of sea-fishing and accommodation, and a tour operator for such firms. The empirical findings show that product innovations were incremental, and cooperation between firms and a mediator was crucial in overcoming the step from innovation to diffusion. It is argued that innovation can be a crucial driver for establishing and renewing nature-based tourism firms. However, to give significant contribution to business activity and value added, diffusion of innovation is an important activity.