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Author : Tim Coles, Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner & Claire Dinan
School/Work Place : University of Exeter Business School, UK
Contact : T.E.Coles@exeter.ac.uk
Year : 2010

This paper explores the relationship between network membership and innovation towards more sustainable tourism development. In particular it examines the extent to which tourism businesses have introduced measures to mitigate the effects of climate change within their operations.

In recent studies of the changing dynamics of the tourism sector, the concepts of innovation and knowledge transfer have featured prominently (Shaw and Williams 2009; Hall and Williams 2008). In a growing body of knowledge, it is argued that innovation among businesses and organisations is vital in order to be able respond to contemporary challenges, in particular in the area of sustainable tourism (Hjalagar 1996, 1997). New challenges require original interventions. For instance, although innovation is a fuzzy concept with multiple and contested meanings (Coles et al 2009), recent studies have highlighted its importance in both mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change (Hall 2006; Saarinen and Tervo 2006). In other words, the more innovative businesses become the greater their ability to respond successfully. Innovations may be relatively modest in scope, such as converting to A-rated appliances or adding insulation. Alternatively, they may be radical and associated with new technologies or inventions, such as using Photovoltaic cells, so-called ‘Smart Metering’ or the latest wood chip boilers. Businesses innovate at different rates but the key challenge, as so-called ‘Wedge Theory’ (Stern 2007) acknowledges, is to encourage as many businesses as possible to innovate towards mitigation and as soon as practicable. Otherwise under ‘business as usual’ scenarios total emissions are likely to continue to rise in a sector that already accounts for around 5% of global C02 emissions (UNWTO 2007).

Innovation seldom takes place in perfect isolation. Businesses and organisations are better placed to respond to contemporary challenges where they exchange knowledge in the form of information, experiences, skills, expertise, best practices and technological insights. Networks offer a medium for such exchanges. Conventional wisdom suggests that the more extensive and/or efficient the network, the greater the likelihood for circulation to the benefit of all members. As sustainable development is in the common good, networks would appear an ideal means to encourage the spread of more responsible and innovative practices. Not surprisingly, a variety of networking arrangements, architectures and interactions have been identified as a means by which to enhance the delivery of sustainable tourism (Bramwell and Lane 2000; Coles 2008).

As a result, a number of associations, organisations and professional bodies at a range of geographical scales from the local to the supra-national have been established in order to promote the principles and practices of sustainable development in tourism. By implication, if the mission of such networks is to facilitate knowledge exchange to encourage change, it is reasonable to assume that members should exhibit enhanced levels of awareness of and practices in sustainable business issues (if the network functions efficiently and/or is adding value). There have, though, been few attempts to examine empirically the extent to which members practice the principles of sustainable business compared to non-members. In short, the specific research question which is addressed by this short paper is ‘does network membership really result in higher levels of sustainable business practice in tourism, in particular in the area of climate change mitigation?’


List of Articles
No. Subject Views Datesort
174 Think Tank XI Use of Cases in an Ethical Teaching Resource for Touri... file 2234 Oct 14, 2013

Ethical problems are an integral part of all professions and academic disciplines (Clarkeburn, 2002). However, it is recognised that the increasing application of technology by students in research is not always matched by consideration of ...

Author: Carl Cater 

Year: 2011 

173 Think Tank XI Identifying Critical Issues in Designing Educational T... file 2836 Oct 14, 2013

Education is seen as an important way to contribute to development. The World Bank finances educational projects with large amounts of money every year because it is convinced that improving education can help alleviate poverty by raising i...

Author: Kerstin Freudenthaler & Anja Hergesell 

Year: 2011 

172 Think Tank XI Learning Network Sustainable Tourism (LNST) for Touris... file 4433 Oct 14, 2013

Since 2002 the Flemish Tourism Board, the executive agency of the Flemish Ministry of Tourism, has implemented different actions to introduce the principles of sustainable tourism into tourism education in Flanders. The general objective is...

Author: Griet Geudens & Manuel Minne 

Year: 2011 

171 Think Tank XI Sustainable Tourism Course Structure and Associated St... file 13615 Oct 14, 2013

The author has developed and delivered Sustainable Tourism (S.T.) related courses at Institutions of Higher Education in Paris, London, Helsinki, and Parnu, Estonia over the last 10 years. The focus of the presentation would be the S.T. con...

Author: James Holleran 

Year: 2011 

170 Think Tank XI CRS 2.0: Management Perspectives of Sustainable Hospit... file 5907 Oct 14, 2013

In recent years, hotel companies have recognized the importance of engaging in responsible business practices as they relate to stakeholders including employees, guests, and the communities in which their properties are located. Accordingly...

Author: Stuart E. Levy & Sun-Young Park 

Year: 2011 

169 Think Tank XI Sustainable Tourism Labels: A Suitable Tool for Consum... file 2023 Oct 14, 2013

In an attempt to encourage businesses making an effort to reduce the negative impacts of tourism, and to maximise the positive outcomes of this activity an extensive number of sustainable tourism labels were developed worldwide. It has been...

Author: Sofia Reino 

Year: 2011 

168 Think Tank XI Visualising Sustainability: Reflections on Applied Stu... file 4006 Oct 14, 2013

As Sontag (1979) stated, we live in an image-based world within which we are continuously bombarded with visuals in countless formats and guises. However, despite such image saturation, academic engagement whether through teaching or resear...

Author: Caroline Scarles 

Year: 2011 

167 Think Tank XI Education as a Visitor Management Technique in Remote ... file 6576 Oct 14, 2013

Remote protected areas are often vulnerable to impacts by visitors. This is generally due to the dual implications of remoteness: a) the area's ecosystems remaining largely undisturbed by human activity (Carey, Dudley and Stolton, 2000) and...

Author: Christian Schott 

Year: 2011 

166 Think Tank XI Learning for Sustainable Tourism: Small and Medium Ent... file 3076 Oct 14, 2013

This abstract intends to present QUSS – an integrated Management System for Quality, Sustainability and Safety in theory and practice. QUSS was invented by the NGO Ecocamping and is thus basically applied on camp sites in Europe with focus ...

Author: Tatjana Thimm 

Year: 2011 

165 Think Tank X The Role of Knowledge-based Networks in Sustainable To... file 3688 Oct 14, 2013

In practice, tourism organisations tend to be more serious towards their financial viability and therefore undermine long-term socio-cultural and environmental consequences. In so doing they impede their own ability and that of the destinat...

Author: Ehsan Ahmed & Larry Dwyer 

Year: 2010 

164 Think Tank X Implementing Networks of the New Zealand Tourism Strat... file 5660 Oct 14, 2013

The areas of tourism planning and strategy are frequently at the focus of academic enquiry; however, the implementation of the planning results is not. The small number of existing studies suggests that many difficulties associated with pla...

Author: Julia N. Albrecht 

Year: 2010 

163 Think Tank X Rather Together? Network Effects among Students file 7247 Oct 14, 2013

Being faced with global trends that challenge the way tourism is conducted at present (Dwyer, Edwards, Mistilis, Roman and Scott, 2009; Dwyer, Edwards, Mistilis, Scott, Roman and C., 2008), educators worldwide have recognized the need to ad...

Author: Florian Aubke, Ivo Ponocny & Anja Hergesell 

Year: 2010 

162 Think Tank X The Importance of Networks for Innovation in Sustainab... file 4102 Oct 14, 2013

This paper highlights the importance of new and established networks that underpin the innovation processes in sustainable tourism. It will draw on published literature as well as case studies to describe the various types of networks that ...

Author: Jack Carlsen, Janne J. Liburd & Deborah Edwards 

Year: 2010 

» Think Tank X Climate Change Mitigation among Accommodation Provider... file 4838 Oct 14, 2013

This paper explores the relationship between network membership and innovation towards more sustainable tourism development. In particular it examines the extent to which tourism businesses have introduced measures to mitigate the effects of...

Author: Tim Coles, Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner & Claire Dinan 

Year: 2010 

160 Think Tank X Innovation of and in Informal Actor Network file 4495 Oct 14, 2013

How the informal sectors create and share innovation in gaining competition is very important in tourism development. Commonly, informal sectors are embedded in their routines and lack of innovation capacities. Based on the case of pedicab ...

Author: Maya Damayanti 

Year: 2010 

159 Think Tank X How Fragile is Tourism Development in West Africa? The... file 4267 Oct 14, 2013

This case study complements recent research on FDI in tourism in African countries conducted by the United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). These projects aim to better understand the pro-development effects of tourism...

Author: Lee Davidson & Mondher Sahli 

Year: 2010 

158 Think Tank X Sustainability: What Matters to Students, Educators, a... file 4465 Oct 14, 2013

As climate change gains global attention from events like the summit in Copenhagen held during December of 2009, the need for sustainable tourism is more important than ever; with comprehensive education in sustainability concepts and practi...

Author: Cynthia S. Deale & Nelson Barber 

Year: 2010 

157 Think Tank X The Impact of Climate Change on Alpine Leisure Tourism... file 7777 Oct 14, 2013

This paper presents an interacting multi-agent model as a new method of examining the impact of climate change on Alpine leisure tourism and ski areas in a complex interacting model network. Since tourism varies at a small scale concerning ...

Author: Alexander Dingeldey & Anja Soboll 

Year: 2010 

156 OPA award The Managing Local Tourism Master Class: Communicating... file 4606 Oct 14, 2013

The aim of this paper is to describe an action-based research project entitled the Management Local Tourism Master Class (MLTMC) and to discuss the merits of this extension tool in building sustainable tourism management practices across loc...

Author: Dianne Dredge, Emma-Jane Ford & Michelle Whitford 

Year: 2010 

OPA: 2010 Outstanding Paper Award Winner 

155 Think Tank X The Managing Local Tourism Master Class: Communicating... file 6534 Oct 14, 2013

The aim of this paper is to describe an action-based research project entitled the Management Local Tourism Master Class (MLTMC) and to discuss the merits of this extension tool in building sustainable tourism management practices across loc...

Author: Dianne Dredge, Emma-Jane Ford & Michelle Whitford 

Year: 2010 

OPA: 2010 Outstanding Paper Award Winner 

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