Adventure tourism innovation: Benefitting or hampering operations?

Marcus Hansen*, Anne Mette Hjalager, Alan Fyall


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Despite its recognised importance to tourism, very little is known about innovation and innovative practices within the sub-sectors of tourism, such as adventure tourism. Further, despite the known benefits of innovation, not all innovations are adopted and the ones that are do not always have a successful outcome. Through a qualitative case study of the US aerial adventure industry, this paper highlights the advantages and disadvantages innovation may have on operational risk management as well as understanding why seemingly critical innovations are not adopted. Unlike tourism in general, the industry is relying heavily on radical innovations as it continues to grow. Numerous benefits are highlighted, yet also indicate a resistance to adopt innovations. The study demonstrates how adventure tourism, in its adaption and managerial processes, seeks balance by using well-tested safety technologies and measures against the incentive to enhance such thrill effects that will appeal to customer. Management implications: • This paper documents the advantages and disadvantages of innovation within adventure tourism, in particular the US aerial adventure industry, and it demonstrates the managerial ambiguities. • The paper finds that whilst innovations have had positive implications upon the industry, they have also led to further challenges in terms of changes in competitions. • The adventure tourism industry seeks to balance its cycles of innovation, and safety is a contributing factor that stimulates innovative activity, alongside the concern for customer thrill experiences.

TidsskriftJournal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 1. dec. 2019


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