The purpose of this paper is to identify the state of academic research on innovation in tourism. The authors present a systematic review of the literature, different research approaches and perspectives on tourism innovation; offer a synthesis of our findings and provide a discussion and proposals for future research.
Existing studies on innovation in hospitality and tourism (included in the Web of Knowledge database) were reviewed, and their limitations were identified. A procedure used in previous studies (Crossan and Apaydin, 2010; Tranfield et al., 2003; Becheikh et al., 2006) was applied. Moreover, aiming to reveal theoretical foundations of tourism innovation research and identify their structure, a bibliometric analysis was performed.
This paper identifies 152 published papers that represent the major efforts in expanding the body of research on innovation in hospitality and tourism. The importance of innovation for business and regional competitiveness and success has been recognised by both researchers and practitioners. In the papers included in the sample of this paper, the authors identified a general consensus that much remains to be done in the development of the theory of innovation in tourism. Through bibliometric analysis, nine co-citation networks, or clusters, were retrieved by applying co-citation relations among the most cited authors. The examination of these nine clusters revealed some dominant themes that characterise the field.
The authors used three databases: Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and Arts & Humanities Citation Index. While these databases may not include all relevant research, the authors, nonetheless, believe that by using a rigorous procedure in reviewing the literature systematically, they were able to reduce the probability of neglecting any information that would critically change the content of the present paper.
The aim of this paper was to bring together the prior research with presently existing models that may be used in further research. For the continuation of the research, the authors propose additional studies with the aim of theory development. By introducing new theoretical ideas and theoretical models, more qualitative and inductive research would help to stimulate further work. As stated above, researchers could go further by undertaking quantitative methods to empirically verify the theoretically proposed models.
Since the last review (Hjalager, 2010) of past studies in tourism innovation, mostly focusing on studies up to 2009, tourism innovation research has grown noticeably in terms of diverse topics. In this paper’s database, the year with the most publications was 2012 with 48 papers, followed by 2014 with 42 (by 19 September), 2010 and 2011 with 41 and 2009 with 29. To the authors’ knowledge, no updated reviews focusing on innovation in tourism have been published recently. This study, consisting of a systematic review of academic literature, includes analyses of the international context, the methodology used, the points of view, the level of analysis (micro-level, macro-level and general level) and the type of innovation discussed in the paper. Moreover, the authors did not find any studies that used bibliometric analysis to identify the structure of the theoretical foundation of research in the area of innovation in tourism.
This paper is a part of a project Z5-5541(B) funded by a Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS).
Gomezelj, D.O. (2016), "A systematic review of research on innovation in hospitality and tourism", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 516-558. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2014-0510Download as .RIS
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