Document Type



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


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Accepted version.

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the motivations of social entrepreneurs. It explores the case of the Gathering in Ireland in 2013, when against a backdrop of recession, the national Government encouraged individuals and communities to organize events and invite the Diaspora to visit Ireland as a way of helping the country to revitalize. Some 5,000 events took place across the country during the year, and this paper examines this in the context of social entrepreneurship. Three research questions are posed: Who were these tourism and social entrepreneurs who organized events as a result of the Gathering? What motivated them to engage in these activities? Will this social entrepreneurship activity be maintained beyond 2013 and how has it been impacted by the Gathering?

Design/methodology/approach – The empirical research was conducted in two counties in Ireland, Co. Kerry and Co. Westmeath. The research tools used were key informant interviews, a survey of event organizers and focus groups.

Findings – Key findings show that the Gathering has resulted in the emergence of new social entrepreneurs, but it has also had a positive impact on those who had run their events before, as it made them be more strategic in the way they planned and ran their event and also resulted in them thinking about these events in terms of tourists rather than just the local community. They also developed new skills which will aid their future development. It is clear that social entrepreneurs can play a fundamental role in the development of tourism destinations, and this is an important topic for researchers in tourism to be concerned about.

Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in the fact that it addresses the issue of motivation of social entrepreneurs and challenges us to think more about how these types of entrepreneurs identify the problem that they will address. Furthermore, this case shows that the motivation for such action can be prompted by a national strategy, rather than as the literature heretofore represented it as an innate motivation that materialized and developed within particular individuals.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License