Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Cultural and economic geography

Publication Details

Annals of Tourism Research, 2018, Vol. 68 pp.77-88


This paper examines the relevance of social entrepreneurs in our consideration of rural destination development, which represents an important tool for rural revitalization. While many peripheral rural areas face significant challenges in terms of sustaining communities and attracting tourists, it is often social entrepreneurs, as much as traditional entrepreneurs, who are involved in developing new ideas, products and activities, as well as envisioning a future for the area. This study, which is based on cross-case analysis resulting from nine semi-structured interviews carried out in rural areas in Ireland, South Africa and USA, identifies key roles that social entrepreneurs play in terms of rural destination development; namely that of opportunists, catalysts, and network architects and this is used to build a theoretical framework within which SEs can be analyzed. By contributing to social objectives through these roles, the SEs have a significant impact on tourism and development in their rural areas, suggesting the importance of considering their contributions in wider discussions of rural destination development.