A-2/12 Stability and variety – Products, organization and institutionalization in farm tourism

Products, collective organization and institutions are factors that shape farm tourism. The aim of this paper is to present new knowledge of the way these factors are designed and provide lessons for management in the sector. Research findings to date suggest these factors are varied but similarities within findings exist. However, while there have been a number of studies on the importance of each of the factors, few studies focus on the combined impact of them. This study attempts to go some way toward filling this knowledge gap. The empirical cases for the study are derived from three European locations: two regions in the Alps: North Tyrol in Austria and South Tyrol in Italy, and Norway. The breadth and variety of the product range differ. We also find clear contrasts between the cases when it comes to the structure of farm tourism organizations. However, the goals of the organizations are quite similar emphasizing three types of tasks: marketing, competence building and quality assurance. Concerning systems for quality assurance, a type of institutional factor, two cases are similar, while the third case (Norway) has a different (less strict) system. Based on a comparative analysis of the cases we develop a conceptual model showing the interdependence between products, organization and institutions in the farm tourism sector, and the influence of market and location. We provide some examples of application of the findings by various actors and agencies in tourism. Tourism Management 33(4): 895-909

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