Tourism destination :the networking approach
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Different approaches to the analysis of tourism destinations as the basic units of research in tourism, are reviewed in this paper. Traditional geographical and economic perspectives are presented as the bases for more modern system and networking approaches. Network analysis is discussed as the most useful current approach to understand cooperation and coopetition processes taking place in destinations. This approach, developed in general management theory, however, if implicated directly in tourism, is not free from major problems and may lead to misleading conclusions. Among such problems, spatial embeddedness and the non-voluntary character of membership in a network, the crucial role of free goods in product creation, the predominance of SMEs in a destination network, differences between particular destinations and the difficulty in setting clear borders between networks, are discussed.