16 July 2009

The Geographies of Social Networks and Innovation in Tourism

Author: Flemming Soslashrensen a
Affiliation: a Centre for Leisure Management Research, CEUS School of Business, Denmark
DOI: 10.1080/14616680601092857
Publication Frequency: 4 issues per year
Published in: journal Tourism Geographies, Volume 9, Issue 1 February 2007 , pages 22 - 48
Subjects: Social Geography; Tourism & Leisure Planning;

Tourism firms operate in a business environment in which innovation is important for firm survival. In spite of this, there is an apparent lack of knowledge concerning innovation processes in tourism firms. This article combines considerations about the geographical characteristics of tourism with social innovation network and agglomeration theories so as to develop a theoretical framework of the social innovation network geography of tourism. The theoretical framework presents arguments for different types of social network geographies and their innovation benefits. An empirical study of tourism firms in destinations in the Province of Malaga, Spain illustrates the theoretical framework. The overall conclusion of the article is that there are several social network geographies of tourism. However, in the empirical study local networks are found to be loose and dense whereas non-local networks are strong and sparse. This social network geography secures access to varied information benefits sustaining innovation. The analysis of social network geographies of tourism does, however, only provide one little piece of the puzzle of understanding innovation in tourism firms.
Keywords: Tourism; innovation; social networks; agglomerations; information; Province of Malaga
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