Author : Tim Coles, Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner & Claire Dinan
School/Work Place : University of Exeter Business School, UK
Contact :
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 Viewssort Date
26 Think Tank X Sustainable Tourism Pedagogy and Student Community Col... file 15775 Oct 13, 2013

There have been increasing calls to move away from the traditional disciplinary structures and research, teaching and learning approaches that have tended to ‘tunnel’ student learning and reinforce particular worldviews towards new forms of ...

Author: Tazim Jamal, Justin Taillon & Dianne Dredge 

Year: 2010 

25 Think Tank X Rather Together? Network Effects among Students file 10460 Oct 13, 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 

24 Think Tank X How Fragile is Tourism Development in West Africa? The... file 9698 Oct 13, 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 

23 Think Tank X Is Ecotourism a Strategy for Regional Economic Develop... file 9253 Oct 13, 2013

The state of Uttarakhand (in the Himalayas) in which the two case studies were conducted is trying to expand its already existing strength in the tourism sector as well. Tourism is estimated to make up for about 20% of GDP in Uttarakhand in...

Author: Harald Pechlaner & Christopher Reuter 

Year: 2010 

22 Think Tank X The Impact of Climate Change on Alpine Leisure Tourism... file 8304 Oct 13, 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 

21 Think Tank X The Managing Local Tourism Master Class: Communicating... file 7160 Oct 13, 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 

20 Think Tank X Implementing Networks of the New Zealand Tourism Strat... file 6406 Oct 13, 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 

19 Think Tank X Sustainable Tourism Networks file 6004 Oct 13, 2013

This study examines the existing pattern of stakeholder relationships representing major partners of sustainable tourism development. By utilizing a network analysis lens the study also helps us understand the impact of inter relationships ...

Author: Seldjan Timur 

Year: 2010 

18 Think Tank X Drowning with Tourism? Stakeholder Perspectives from T... file 5960 Oct 13, 2013

Climate change and its impacts on nations, regions and populations as well as its anthropogenic causes have become one of the prevailing issues of global society and, hence, subject to ongoing debates among e.g. the natural, political and s...

Author: Anna Huebner 

Year: 2010 

17 Think Tank X Sustainable Destination Management and the Marketing-P... file 5919 Oct 13, 2013

A traditional and widely held view is that a sustainable approach to destination planning and management ideally requires that marketing and product development are undertaken in an integrated manner. However, if we take just two activities...

Author: Tazim Jamal & Dianne Dredge 

Year: 2010 

16 Think Tank X Cultural-Touristic Network Altenkirchen – Perspective ... file 5828 Oct 13, 2013

Altenkirchen is situated in Westerwald/Raiffeisen region of Germany (between the cities of Bonn, Cologne, Mainz and Wiesbaden) and in addition to the 7,000 city inhabitants includes 42 municipalities with a further 24,000 people. It is a ci...

Author: Sanja Zerlauth & Dietmar Wiegand 

Year: 2010 

15 Think Tank X Innovation of and in Informal Actor Network file 5689 Oct 13, 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 

14 Think Tank X New Media for Climate Change Communication and Collabo... file 5535 Oct 13, 2013

The Climate Change Collaboratory1 aims to strengthen the relations between Austrian scientists, policy makers, educators, environmental NGOs, news media and corporations - stakeholders who recognize the need for adaptation and mitigation, b...

Author: Arno Scharl 

Year: 2010 

» Think Tank X Climate Change Mitigation among Accommodation Provider... file 5289 Oct 13, 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 

12 Think Tank X The Importance of Networks for Innovation in Sustainab... file 5162 Oct 13, 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 

11 Think Tank X Sustainability: What Matters to Students, Educators, a... file 4901 Oct 13, 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 

10 Think Tank X Implementation of the DIT-ACHIEV Model for Sustainable... file 4757 Oct 13, 2013

The DIT-ACHIEV Model is a model of sustainable tourism indicators developed in a previous research project undertaken by the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, Dublin Institute of Technology. The indicators represent six fields o...

Author: Maeve Morrissey, Kevin Griffin & Sheila Flanagan 

Year: 2010 

9 Think Tank X Establishing a Network of European Rural Villages for ... file 4555 Oct 13, 2013

The paper deals with the research activity carried out by the Authors in the context of the European Project “Listen to the Voice of Villages”. The focus is on the governance asset and tools able to enhance sustainable tourism development i...

Author: Mariangela Franch, Umberto Martini, Federica Buffa & Fabio Sacco 

Year: 2010 

8 Think Tank X The Role of Knowledge-based Networks in Sustainable To... file 3937 Oct 13, 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 

7 Think Tank X The Role of Face-to-face Communication and Networking ... file 3748 Oct 13, 2013

Despite the advent of improved electronic communications technology, face-to-face communication and networking remain the most effective means of enhancing business performance and innovation, particularly for more complex products. During ...

Author: Leo Jago & Margaret Deery 

Year: 2010