As introduced in the first point, tourism clusters are created to leverage the unique resources of a location or in some cases to gather artificial resources in the same location. In both cases, they improve the value of the location to end up making the location a key strategic factor.
To make a cluster competitive there are many key success factors that should be considered by the cluster members:
- Transport infrastructure within, and to access the cluster from the target markets
- Solidarity and cooperation spirit among players
- Cooperation between the Government and the private players
- Creating a welcoming atmosphere to attract international talent
- Foresee space for attracting new businesses and expanding the cluster
A very specific key success factor is the existence of a governance structure to promote collaboration and joint projects, fostering innovation and promoting the cluster internationally. This governance body should be also responsible for:
- Attracting new businesses
- Performance monitoring
- Intelligence research
- Identifying needs for improvement and training
- Representing the cluster players internationally
- Organizing networking events and conferences
- Coordinating players to design and implement the cluster development strategy
As mentioned before, there may be many types of players within a cluster, and so the types of cooperation between them may also be different. There are at least two types of cooperation:
- Value chain cooperation: between players from different sections of the value chain, to gain efficiency or to add new value.
- Coopetition: competitors sharing resources and costs that are not afordable for each one alone.
Research has shown that tourism development is a venue in which cooperation is often more important than competition (Inman et al. 1998). A cluster based development should try to build the value chain within each cluster in the region. A cluster strategy places all public and private stakeholders in the position of being producers and suppliers to one another, and seeks for constructive ways to define and carry out mutually beneficial action. The value chain is central to the tourism cluster concept, as it demonstrates how tourism can generate benefits to the economy beyond the tourism sector through linked industries (Gollub et al. 2002).
Do you think of other key success factors to make a cluster competitive?