The concept of networks, with various actors connected by links that represent their relationships and interaction seems to have become a new paradigm in rural development. The rural tourism is viewed as an important sector to stimulate the local economy, create jobs, enhance the living standard of local communities and improve the inequality between urban-rural areas. Rural tourism entrepreneurs play active actors within an entrepreneurial ecosystem. This research aims to gain in-depth understand the role of entrepreneurial networks in facilitating rural tourism development in Northern Ireland. Using Social Network Theory as a conceptual framework, it will explore entrepreneurial networks inspiration and other attributes contributing to rural tourism growth.
A qualitative research method is adopted, using in-depth interviews in the collection of data. Homogenous sampling strategy were used to identify the main actors (Rural Tourism Entrepreneurs- RTEs). Preliminary findings indicate tourism entrepreneur in rural areas take on numerous roles as networking agents who organise and offer productive rural tourism experiences, providing the missing link between the ‘hidden treasures’ of rural landscape and tourists. An analysis of the nuances of the operations of these rural tourism entrepreneur suggests that prominent levels of social embeddedness within rural areas are important in order for these rural entrepreneurs to accomplish their objectives. This research identifies gaps in the entrepreneurial networks literature in a rural tourism context and contributes to the in-depth understanding of rural tourism entrepreneur– who accelerate the network phenomenon between local people and their roles in connections to rural tourism development.
|Conference||3rd European Rural Geopgraphies conference|
|Period||26/06/23 → 29/06/23|
- rural tourism
- Entrepreneurial Networks
- social network
- rural areas