Henrik Halkier, Professor* - Aalborg University
Anette Therkelsen, PhD - Aalborg University
Tourism has traditionally been perceived as being characterised by a combination of labour-intensive hands-on services, a preponderance of small or micro firms, and limited innovation. Such characteristics makes tourism an area of socio-economic activity in which path dependency would be particularly pronounced because of a likely shortage of actors with sufficient resources to engage actively in path creation. Starting from the theoretical concept of path plasticity (Strambach 2008), the aim of this paper is to analyse the processes through which coastal-rural tourist destinations try to reposition themselves in the increasingly competitive market for tourist experiences. The analysis focuses on the role of 1) policy agency and 2) access to knowledge from outside the region and/or sector. This reflects the assumptions that extra-regional and extra-sectoral sources of knowledge are particularly important for innovation in internationally oriented destinations, and that the well-established complexity of tourist destinations makes public coordination and proactivity important in furthering path plasticity through their interaction with especially private actors. As the paper can be seen as an explorative study of the micro-dynamics of path plasticity, it adopts a case-study based approach, exploring two coastal-rural destinations, Toppen af Danmark and MariagerFjord in North Jutland, Denmark.
Strambach, S. (2008) Path dependence and path plasticity: The co-evolution of institutions and innovation - the German customised business software industry, in BOSCHMA R. and MARTIN R. (Eds) The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, pp. 406-31. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.