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The Geographies of Social Networks and Innovation in Tourism

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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: Province of Malaga; Tourism; agglomerations; information; innovation; social networks

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Leisure Management Research, CEUS School of Business, Denmark

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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