Entrepreneurship in the Contemporary Tourism Ecosystem: The Case of Incoming Tour Operators in Taiwan
Information technology advances provide alternative distribution and marketing strategies for tour product suppliers in the destination. Technology-enabled innovations empower tourists to deal directly with tour component suppliers and to pursue more customized and experience-based tour products. Disintermediation between consumers and suppliers has threatened the business sustainability of incumbent inbound tour operators (ITOs), which are still reliant on an economic logic of information asymmetry and the multi-layered distribution system. While established companies in conventional mass tourism may be concerned about the trade-off between technology investment and financial return, start-up entrepreneurs grab market opportunities to serve unmet tourist needs with innovative business models and technical expertise. This qualitative research explores how tourism entrepreneurs perceive the impact of technological innovation and how their solutions for visitor needs may replace traditional functions of ITOs in the industry value chain. The results indicate that the proposed progression of this sector is supported with the supplement of a platform business model and open innovation.
KeywordsIncoming tour operators Smart tourism ecosystem Taiwan
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