Received 20 November 2014. Revised 20 April 2015. Accepted 20 June 2015. Available online 10 July 2015. Coordinating Editor: Chris Cooper Highlights
Absorptive capacity is an organisation’s ability to use external knowledge for competitive advantage.
A new theoretical model is suggested which is more suitable for understanding tourism organisations.
It is now possible to measure absorptive capacity in tourism.
This has important implications for policy-makers seeking to enhance the competitiveness of destinations.
Abstract Absorptive capacity, one of the most prominent constructs in innovation research over recent decades, has advanced theoretically without consideration for the peculiarities of tourism and tourism enterprises. At its core is the notion that an ability to acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit external knowledge generates competitive advantage. Following a review of the literature and a study of absorptive capacity in the international meetings industry, a new theoretical model is proposed. The paper also provides the means by which policy-makers might, for the first time, assess levels of absorptive capacity in destinations. Keywords