Perceptions of Open Data in the Tourism Industry in Finland : Implementation, Use, and Links with Sustainable Tourism Development

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för samhällsbyggnad och industriell teknik

Abstract: Making data openly accessible and how to utilize data are becoming increasingly clear in business development. Therefore, succeeding in it can allow a tremendous competitive advantage in the tourism market. The previous research has been lacking to show how tourism enterprises and regions can utilize open data in their favor. In this study, the implementation and the use of open data, and its interconnectedness to sustainable tourism development in Finland, are scrutinized. Visit Finland’s nationally launched open database is used as a case to examine the phenomenon. The study relies on qualitative methods using semi-structured interviews, interviewing tourism businesses, and regional tourism organizations, who meet the criteria of early adopters, following Rogers's diffusion of innovations theory. The study is to explore what both groups think of the advantages, disadvantages, facilitators, and hindrances of the implementation and the usage of the open database along with how they see its linkages to sustainable tourism development. The findings show that the overall perception of launching an open national database is affirmative. The significance of resource management, communication, and collaboration in succeeding in the implementation of the open database is highlighted in the results. The study shows that the diffusion of innovations is a fitting framework for understanding adaptation processes in terms of this kind of innovation. The linkages between open data and openness as a culture with sustainable development shall be made much more clearly, as they are linked; however, people do not often know how. The collaboration between tourism actors through organizational level management needs to be adequately navigated by increased awareness through communication. This way, the value of investing in open data can be perceived, and thus, the challenge of continuousness, which is a challenge of diffusion, can be overcome, and direct and indirect gains can be received by tourism stakeholders. The adaptation climate is favorable by accelerated competition in the global tourism market due to COV19, thereby urging tourism actors to take the digitalization leap. The study shows how all comes down to people and their management of change. Behind every technological appliance, there are people whose shoes must step in order to understand the diffusion.

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