Encouraging Innovation in Sustainable Tourism Development- The case of the Øresund Region

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: Innovation is commongly discussed from the perspective of the manufacturing industry. Innovations can be the profitable market introduction of novelties, including new products, improved production techniques and logistics, or new ways of marketing and communication. Innovation can also be used to describe organisational and relational changes. While the service industry differs from the manufacturing industry in many aspects, innovation theories can also be used to describe changes in this sector. This thesis focuses on innovation in regard to tourism services. On the basis of a sample of firms, the research seeks to indicate why service-based tourism companies innovate in the first place and shows that factors inside the organisation, such as entrepreneurialism and organisational character as well as outside influences, such as the market and the regional support structure, influence innovativness. Through interviews with experts in tourism development on both sides of the Øresund region (Landskrona and Storstrøms Amt) and interviews with enterprises considered "innovative" by these actors, the research indicates that where the market pull to respond to customer needs is too strong, external influences can encourage innovation through various networking arrangements. The research identifies the problems at each stage of the innovation process and introduces a set of techniques which an outside actor can bring in to stimulate innovativeness in the company. The research concludes that companies need to learn to think with a long term perspective. Small businesses operate on a day-to-day basis, and may therby lack a vision and strategic thinking. Especially for sustainable innovation, a more holistic and ?outside the daily business? thinking is a prerequisite. Both private and public sector actors are seen to play a role in encouraging the thinking behind sustainable innovation in small tourism enterprises.

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