Networking Among Rural Tourism Entrepreneurs
H. Farrell, G. Bosworth & R. Newbery
In this paper we explore the role of in-migrant owners of small tourism firms in promoting entrepreneurship and developing competition in the tourism economy of Northumberland. We hypothesise that through a combination of extra-local networks and local embeddedness these business owners are not only succeeding themselves but they are stimulating other local businesses by increasing local trade, heightening competition and raising standards and aspirations. The role of in-migrants is further explored in theoretical terms. Their networking behaviour and the importance of what Saxena terms \“relational capital” in the process of integrating rural tourism into the wider local economy is of particular interest given that some of these business owners are recent arrivals into the area. Of further interest are the links between place, community and local products, services and activities. The ability of in-migrants to create a sense of place and as well as embedding their businesses within the local economy is discussed. Keywords: business networks, lifestyle businesses, rural development, entrepreneurship, counterurbanisation, embeddedness, social capital. 1 Introduction Tourism contributes some £12bn per annum to rural economies and supports an estimated 380,000 jobs (Ilbery et al. ) but rural locations attractive to tourists are not necessarily attractive locations for entrepreneurial endeavour and economic dynamism. Rural tourism is dominated by microbusinesses and many of these are not the main income source for their owners (Getz and Peterson ).
business networks, lifestyle businesses, rural development, entrepreneurship, counterurbanisation, embeddedness, social capital