The special character of tourism innovation networks: The case of the regional innovation system of South Tyrol
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The present study investigates the relevance of inter-organizational and cross-sectoral relations for innovation activities in tourism, analyzing whether networked innovation in tourism differs from other sectors. The aim is to highlight the special characteristics of tourism in the context of a Regional Innovation System (RIS) by means of a Social Network Analysis (SNA) carried out on small and medium sized enterprises in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen (South Tyrol) in Italy. The analysis indicates that enterprises in the hospitality and tourism industry are strongly embedded in their regional context, showing a distinct tendency to prefer collaboration across sectors for innovation. The conclusions of this study highlight that the characteristics identified with regard to tourism innovation networks, territorially embedded but highly influenced by other sectors, may provide a possible explanation for some of the traits of tourism innovation identified (e.g. a high degree of imitation in destinations).
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