The role of cooperation in enhancing innovation in nature-based tourism services

A. Matilainen, G. Weiss, Z. Sarvašová, D. Feliciano, C. Nastase, M. Prede

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nature-based tourism is a rapidly growing industry sector providing new sources of livelihood for rural areas to diversify the traditional economies. Although innovativeness is an important element in the competitiveness of companies, the level of innovations in nature tourism and recreation services has not been reported as very high. The innovations in nature-based tourism typically occur not as a result of specific innovation systems, but rather 'between' the existing ones, and as a result of spontaneous, project-oriented cooperation of various public and private actors. These actors play a significant role in creating new ideas and cooperation is essential for their successful development. However, combining multiple actors to cross-sectoral networks is a challenge, particularly when small and micro-companies are concerned. By using case studies across Europe, this chapter aims to illustrate what kind of cooperation types exist between nature-based tourism enterprises and critical stakeholder groups affecting the innovation process, and how the cooperation is managed by innovation carriers. In addition, the chapter aims to illustrate what kind of influence different policies have had in this cooperation. The empirical data consist of 12 case studies from six western and eastern European countries (Austria, Estonia, Finland, Romania, Scotland and Slovakia). The results highlight the important role of informal cooperation in nature-based tourism innovation processes. This type of cooperation is supported mainly through horizontal rural and regional development policies. The results emphasize that the policy instruments with a bottom-up horizontal approach have an important role in enhancing innovation in the nature-based tourism sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation in Forestry
Subtitle of host publicationTerritorial and Value Chain Relationships
PublisherCabi Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-184593689-1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2011


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