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Tourism-firm differentiation and place differentiation in the sun-sea-sand tourism city of Antalya

Erkuş-Öztürk, Hilal
Terhorst, Pieter
This study aims to explore whether tourism firms follow a more active strategy of differentiation in some tourism places than in others. In this context, this study is about the relation between differentiation (innovation and renovation) strategies of incumbent tourism firms (hotels, restaurants, jewellers, and clothing-, shoes-, and bags shops strongly oriented at the tourism market) and tourism-place differentiation in the sun-sea-sand mass-tourism city of Antalya (Turkey). It differs from previous researches: 1) by bringing a tourism dimension to firm differentiation, and tourism place differentiation, and 2) by employing a quantitative method of analysis (correspondence and chi-square) based on a firm-level survey (hotels, restaurants, jewellery- and retail-trade companies). It is hypothesized that (1) hotels in tourism enclaves follow, paradoxically, more actively strategies of differentiation than in other tourism places, (2) mixed places with a variety of tourism and non-tourism firms and a mix of local inhabitants/visitors (historical diversified tourism places and mixed places with strong tourism functions) are the most favourable environment for tourism firms that follow strategies of differentiation, and (3) that tourism firms which realize less or no innovations and/or renovations are predominantly found in mixed places with weak tourism functions predominantly visited by lower and lower-middle class locals. It is found firstly that hotels in tourism enclaves follow more actively strategies of differentiation. Secondly, restaurants, jewellers, and retail-trade shops that actively followed a strategy of differentiation are most likely located in a historical diversified tourism place, and mixed places with strong tourism functions. Thirdly, all tourism firms in mixed places with weak tourism functions mainly visited by lower and lower-middle class locals follow less strategies of innovation and/or renovation than in other tourism places.