Abstract

A rapidly changing business environment is forcing destinations to innovate in order to remain competitive. Innovation is increasingly recognized as being important for destination development (Weiermair, 2003; Volo, 2005; Zach & Fesenmaier, 2009; Haugland, Ness, Grønseth & Aarstad, 2010). A concept of innovativeness is used, based on Wang’s and Ahmed’s (2004) multi-dimensional definition and Huang’s, Li’s & Chen’s (2009) recognition of the importance of tangible and intangible dimensions, in order to cover all aspects of mountain destination innovativeness. Mountain tourism destinations were chosen for analysis as they are experiencing pressure, uncertainty and crisis (Bourdeau, 2009). Organizational and strategic innovations are needed in order to adapt to the changing environment (Macchiavelli, 2009). Flagestad & Hope (2001), Pechlaner & Sauerwein (2002), Bordeau (2009) and Macchiavelli (2009) believed that mountain tourism has to be redefined, which can be done with the help of identified important mountain destination elements, based on which factors of mountain destination innovativeness are constructed. Existing destination competitiveness models and innovation literature represent a foundation for the development of mountain destination innovativeness elements, which are tested for their importance in the first part of the analysis. An exploratory factor analysis is then conducted using only the more important elements to form three factors that represent underlying dimensions of mountain destination innovativeness. The results show that mountain destination innovativeness incorporates the factors of socio-cultural sustainability and stakeholder participation, environmental sustainability (natural environment) and proactiveness.

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Determining Factors of Mountain Destination Innovativeness

A rapidly changing business environment is forcing destinations to innovate in order to remain competitive. Innovation is increasingly recognized as being important for destination development (Weiermair, 2003; Volo, 2005; Zach & Fesenmaier, 2009; Haugland, Ness, Grønseth & Aarstad, 2010). A concept of innovativeness is used, based on Wang’s and Ahmed’s (2004) multi-dimensional definition and Huang’s, Li’s & Chen’s (2009) recognition of the importance of tangible and intangible dimensions, in order to cover all aspects of mountain destination innovativeness. Mountain tourism destinations were chosen for analysis as they are experiencing pressure, uncertainty and crisis (Bourdeau, 2009). Organizational and strategic innovations are needed in order to adapt to the changing environment (Macchiavelli, 2009). Flagestad & Hope (2001), Pechlaner & Sauerwein (2002), Bordeau (2009) and Macchiavelli (2009) believed that mountain tourism has to be redefined, which can be done with the help of identified important mountain destination elements, based on which factors of mountain destination innovativeness are constructed. Existing destination competitiveness models and innovation literature represent a foundation for the development of mountain destination innovativeness elements, which are tested for their importance in the first part of the analysis. An exploratory factor analysis is then conducted using only the more important elements to form three factors that represent underlying dimensions of mountain destination innovativeness. The results show that mountain destination innovativeness incorporates the factors of socio-cultural sustainability and stakeholder participation, environmental sustainability (natural environment) and proactiveness.