Edited by Dieter K. Müller
Chapter 9: Geographies of tourism entrepreneurship and innovation: an evolving research agenda
During the past several decades, there has been a growing awareness of the crucial role that entrepreneurship plays in the place-commodification of destinations. In particular, entrepreneurship can play a pivotal role in the early stages of tourism development but also during the maturation stage when large externallyfunded organizations can provide the capital to implement major innovations. These varied entrepreneurial processes tend to involve the creation and development of new business opportunities in tourism, and are often viewed through a Schumpeterian lens of “creative destruction” and innovation.Good examples of small-scale entrepreneurship can be found in the recent emergence of farm tourism, homestays, ecotourism and adventure tourism. By contrast, major innovations can be found in the way the transnational airline and hotel industry now employs information technology through e-ticketing or in developing various strategic alliances. More recently, attention has focused on “lifestyle-oriented small tourism” (LOST) firms that do not conform to conventional economic expectations, and that serve various niche markets created by the demand for specialized tourism products. These so-called LOST entrepreneurs are motivated less by profit and are frequently more focused on maintaining a particular lifestyle or way of life. However, in spite of the growing interest in tourism entrepreneurship, the research agenda remains fragmented and partial, with substantive gaps (Shaw 2014). The chapter aims to partially remedy this problem by highlighting the key research issues that need to be addressed in this field in the coming years. An emphasis is placed on summarizing the key research trajectories, focused on how a geographic perspective can help contribute to a better understanding of tourism entrepreneurship relative to the larger field of tourism studies.
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