The Value of Digital Innovation for Tourism Entrepreneurs in Rural Iceland


  • Magdalena Falter University of Iceland
  • Gunnar Thor Jóhannesson University of Iceland


The aim of this paper is to explore digital innovation and entrepreneurial dynamics in rural areas in Iceland. More specifically, the main objective is to describe the current significance digital innovation has for rural tourism entrepreneurs in Iceland. The goal of this study is hence to investigate if and how digital innovation becomes meaningful for rural tourism entrepreneurs in Iceland. Apart from answering the question of ‘what is going on on the ground,’ the aim is to describe the level of involvement of rural businesses and entrepreneurs in innovation, digital application and technology. Despite the global political discussion about smart tourism and the
necessity of digital innovation in the tourism industry, the study revealed that innovation and digitalisation are not necessarily interrelated in the understanding of the rural Icelandic tourism entrepreneurs. The research is an exploratory study and is based on qualitative methodology. Information has been gathered through 34 semistructured interviews with tourism entrepreneurs and members of their support system in rural Iceland. The research provides knowledge about the status and the value of digital innovation for rural tourism entrepreneurs in Iceland. The study furthermore contributes to gaining understanding about the missing link between policy and practice and thus adds both practical and scientific value to the body of literature.

Keywords: lifestyle entrepreneurship, Iceland, smart tourism, digital innovation, rural entrepreneurship

Author Biographies

Magdalena Falter, University of Iceland

Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, PhD student

Gunnar Thor Jóhannesson, University of Iceland

Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Professor


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How to Cite

Falter, M., & Jóhannesson, G. T. (2023). The Value of Digital Innovation for Tourism Entrepreneurs in Rural Iceland. Academica Turistica - Tourism and Innovation Journal, 16(2). Retrieved from