The innovation journey of tourism entrepreneurs: evidence from Spain and the UK and policy implications

Start date

June 0016

End date

May 2018


The main aim of the project is to deepen understanding of the different stages of the innovation journey followed by entrepreneurs in tourism. It will examine not only the classic startup process, involving opportunity recognition, development and early implementation of innovation in the market, but also the subsequent stages of business performance (discontinuance, growth, further innovation, etc.). This understanding will contribute to the design of more effective innovation policies.

Project details

This project set out to provide insightful knowledge on different stages of the innovation journey followed by entrepreneurs in tourism. It examined the innovation process of a total of 57 entrepreneurs in Spain and the UK and carried out a longitudinal study of business performance of a sample of 16 innovators, the latest revealing high failure rates for innovation.

The fact that innovation is a highly complex and uncertain process explains the high failure rates. The analysis of the innovation pathways of a total of 73 entrepreneurs (both successful and unsuccessful) during this two year project highlighted critical factors for success or failure which were discussed with policymakers in Spain.

The results of this discussion was the co-production of an online survey allowing the potential policy measures and issues to be discussed with a wider sample of innovative entrepreneurs. The survey was completed by 269 tourism innovators both in Spain and the UK. The views of all the participants at different methodological stages were included in a policy recommendations report. The project findings were also disseminated via conference and published papers, videos and a policy briefing.

Funding amount








Rodriguez Sanchez Isabel, Williams Allan M., Andreu Hugo García (2019) Customer resistance to tourism innovations: entrepreneurs? Understanding and management strategies, Journal of Travel Research SAGE Publications

Rodriguez Isabel, Williams Allan M, Brotons M. (2017). The innovation journey of new-to-tourism entrepreneurs, Current Issues in Tourism, 22(28), 877-904

Research groups and centres

We have a world-class reputation for our research in hospitality, tourism, transport and events.

SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy