The field of entrepreneurship in outdoor tourism is the main subject of this dissertation with the aim of expanding the scientific and application aspects of the competitiveness of the destination based on the innovation of the outdoor offer and promotion. The scientific research carried out at the theoretical and application level implies the model of conception of the development of outdoor tourism at the level of the destination and its stakeholders.
The development of entrepreneurship in outdoor tourism is presented in the dissertation in the concept and strategy of development as an integral part of the model concept, which consists of a development concept, development strategy, development system and business policy (Stipanović, 2006). In the development concept model, the dissertation connects all development agents, considers the role of tourists in outdoor product preferences and willingness to recommend the destination, examines locals when considering the benefits of outdoor tourism for their development, and explores the role of all stakeholders in management. The application research was conducted on the island of Krk, because the island of Krk can offer the entire content of the tourist map in this segment and includes the related elements of the offer to the entrepreneurial activities of outdoor tourism. The entrepreneurial activities of the stakeholders in the development of outdoor tourism on the island of Krk include the local government and self-government, the umbrella organization of destinations, the destinations of towns and municipalities, local travel agencies, specialized agencies, hoteliers and private landlords of accommodation, associations, suppliers of sports equipment, small and medium entrepreneurs accompanying facilities and activities.
Under the aspect of the research problem, the objectives are defined in conceptual, empirical and application terms.
On the scientific side, the conceptual part of the research includes the following:
Defining the theoretical determinants of the model concept for the development of outdoor tourism at the destination level.
Defining the theoretical characteristics of outdoor tourism, its contents and related sub-types.
Defining dimensions of outdoor tourism
Differentiation of outdoor tourism from other forms of tourism whose activities take place in outdoor spaces
Description of the main trends of outdoor tourism from the perspective of their impact on the destination competitiveness
Systematization of outdoor tourism in the role of entrepreneurial activity
Analysis of the importance of entrepreneurship in the innovation of the outdoor offer
Description of the impact of the innovation of the tourist offer and promotion on the competitiveness
In the empirical and application part of the research, the research objectives consist in:
Examination of the competitiveness of outdoor tourism on the island of Krk
Research of the competitiveness of the main providers of outdoor offers
Research of entrepreneurial opportunities for the development of outdoor tourism
Analyzing natural and infrastructural resource bases of outdoor tourism
Analyzing the perception of key stakeholders abot the development of outdoor tourism
Analyzing the perception of locals about the development of outdoor tourism
Analyzing tourists' attitudes towards outdoor tourism as a destination and the ability to recommend the destination to others
Defining future goals and action strategies for the development of outdoor tourism
Elaboration of a future scenario for the development of outdoor tourism on the island of Krk
Elaboration of proposals for improving the management of the development of outdoor tourism at all levels
Based on the theoretical and empirical knowledge of the research concept, the main hypothesis is formulated as follows:
H1: The model concept for the development of entrepreneurship and strategic development of the outdoor offer based on synergy and innovation of stakeholders (entrepreneurs) has a positive impact on the competitiveness of tourism.
Since the main hypothesis contains more relatively independent relationships between different variables, it is necessary to formulate several auxiliary hypotheses with it:
H1A: The synergy of stakeholders has a positive effect on the innovation of the outdoor tourist offer.
H1B: The development of outdoor tourism supply has a statistically significant impact on the perception of outdoor tourism by residents (both for the development of the destination and for the participation of the local residents in the creation of the outdoor supply, increasing the employability and benefits for the local population).
H1C: Outdoor events and accompanying outdoor tourism offerings have a statistically significant impact on destination recommendation preference by outdoor tourists.
Based on the established hypotheses, an empirical survey was conducted in two phases, where in the first phase the data was collected based on two focus groups with relevant stakeholders, while in the second phase it was resorted to the collection of quantitative data with three groups of respondents on the island of Krk: stakeholders, the resident population and tourists.
The target group of stakeholders for the implementation of the questionnaires are the relevant parties for outdoor tourism on the island of Krk within the Primorje and Gorski kotar County - the umbrella tourist board, the tourist boards of the municipality and towns, entrepreneurs (sports equipment rentals, excursions, carriers, etc.), specialized tourism agencies, restaurateurs and sponsors of tourist events. The realized sample consists of a total of 873 respondents, of which 238 are businesses (including tourist boards), 333 are respondents within the local community, and 302 are outdoor tourists. Potential respondents were selected by collecting business contacts and the “snowball“ method. Considering the practical needs and the relatively small number of relevant participants, the sample is worth remembering, but still the results are valid because the relevant participants were included in the sample in sufficient numbers. Following the data collection phase, statistical data processing was conducted. Statistical data processing included data descriptions, testing the statistical significance of differences, and hypothesis testing.
In order to deal systematically with the aforementioned topics, the dissertation consists of 7 units. In the first, introductory part of the dissertation, the main objectives of the theoretical and applied research are defined, the hypotheses for the purpose and the expected scientific contribution are defined. In the second part of the dissertation, the theoretical structure of the development of the concept of development in outdoor tourism is described as a document consisting of an analysis of the current situation, goals and operational strategies that define the development guidelines for the future.
In the third part, outdoor tourism is processed in the definition of the term and the dimensions of differentiation of outdoor tourism from other specific forms of tourism are determined. The systematic review of literature found that outdoor tourism is a broader term than nature tourism, ecotourism, recreation and adventure tourism. This chapter also describes the main trends in outdoor tourism, highlighting the use of high technologies such as VR and AR, whose influence will determine the development of outdoor tourism in the future.
The fourth part of the dissertation is about the application implementation of the research, where three groups of respondents, stakeholders, tourists and resident population were used to implement empirical objectives. The results of a group of stakeholders show that the role of synergy of all stakeholders in the creation, innovation and promotion of the outdoor tourism offer has a positive effect on creating a competitive advantage of the destination. Private sector stakeholders (entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, hoteliers) are perceived as playing the greatest role in the competitiveness of outdoor tourism, in contrast to tourist boards and local authorities, whose role is considered to be less important. Tourist agencies and tourist boards work more on new offers than the others, which is consistent with the H1A hypothesis.
In the fifth part, the key resources of the island of Krk are presented, which have an impact on the creation of comparative and competitive advantages, highlighting the prerequisites of nature and the characteristics of the space suitable for the development of tourism activities on land, in the water or in the air. In this chapter the analysis of the current situation was conducted and the evaluation of the offer, the SWOT analysis, and the PESTLE analysis. The outdoor events take the fundamental recognition of the destination in outdoor tourism, and the island of Krk achieves the greatest competitive advantage through outdoor water activities.
In addition, local people positively perceive the impact of outdoor tourism on local community development, and preference for destination recommendation by outdoor tourists is significantly influenced by outdoor events. Locals view all stakeholders positively, but at the same time estimate that opportunities for all stakeholders are higher than their current level of engagement. Most believe that outdoor tourism can have a positive impact on local employment, but there is also some concern about the potential devastation of destinations and especially traffic problems that outdoor tourism can develop. The results of the tourist group analysis show that sports facilities and outdoor events are important aspects of outdoor offerings that significantly influence the destination recommendation preference of outdoor tourists. The importance of outdoor event offerings on tourists' propensity to recommend the destination is an important indicator of outdoor event quality. From the research findings, i.e., the testing of the hypothesis and the subsidiary hypotheses, an important role of tourism agencies and tourist board systems is evident, which in some respects is even greater than the role of outdoor entrepreneurs themselves, especially in the field of promotion and creation and innovation of outdoor offers. The role of local authorities in the development of outdoor tourism is perceived as the least of all other stakeholders, but the perceived potential of local authorities is relatively high.
In the sixth part of the dissertation, strategic objectives for the development of outdoor tourism were established, defining the innovation of the offer, promotion and management of the development of outdoor tourism in the destination based on outdoor activities on land, water and air. Following the defined objectives, operational strategies are proposed as a basis for operationalizing the strategic objectives. CRM and business intelligence were identified as new strategic directions on which to base R&D. In the marketing strategy, online marketing channels with a focus on social networks through which video messages are communicated and outdoor influencers are presented as a key mix in value communication. The creation of outdoor tourist clusters defining the northern part of the island for air activities, the central part of the island for land activities and the southern part of the island for water activities are the basis for the innovation of the outdoor offer of the island of Krk. The financial strategy is included in the financial budget for the development of outdoor tourism in the destination, allocating more than 50% of revenues from external funding sources, while the human resources strategy deals with the fact that human resources should function as carriers of the development of outdoor tourism of the island of Krk through the system of planning specialized personnel in outdoor tourism, determining the quality, skills and competencies of human capital and discovering new human resources potential. In this part of the dissertation, before the conclusion, the proposal for the development management is conceived based on the sustainability indicators proposed in the literature for the management of outdoor tourism. In the seventh, concluding part, systematizers are an important consideration of the above, which include the literature, list of images, tables and diagrams with associated adverbs for a better understanding of all the results.
The interpenetration of theory and practice in the dissertation is essentially separate, but each part of the empirical section is based on theoretical specifications, quantitative and qualitative indicators, and has anchorage in scientific and practical knowledge.
The results of the scientific research and the knowledge gained from it, presented in the dissertation contribute to the improvement of the theoretical achievements in the field of conception and development strategy in tourism, which imply the impact of the positive effect of outdoor tourism on destinations and individual stakeholders through the spectrum of entrepreneurship.