Success factors for hospitality sector clusters

Results from the project

BFUF Rapport #4
Var fungerar besöksnäringen?

The Economic Geography of Leisure and Hospitality Destinations

Charlotta Mellander, Professor of Economics, Jönköping International Business School

What is the research project about?
“We will be analysing clusters in the hospitality sector, their success or failure over time, in order to increase knowledge about where tourism works. Do regional conditions influence the success of a cluster venture or the establishment of a company, and is it possible to identify general factors and patterns that determine whether they are successful or not? In municipalities where there is a reduced population and extensive depopulation, it is sometimes believed that one solution to the problem might be to create a new Ullared, for example. I don’t believe that this would work for everyone.”

How will you proceed?
“By analysing statistics, for example, we will see whether there are links between economic development and travel. We hold data about every individual and company in Sweden at a municipal level for the period 1985-2011, from which we are ascertaining economic development by municipality as well as in smaller geographic units. We will combine this with data from TDB (the Travel and Tourism Database) regarding the population’s travel habits in Sweden, which Resurs has compiled continuously since 1989. We will be looking at professional groups that work with the hospitality sector, such as within hotel and restaurant operations and retail, as well as studying how the businesses have developed over time. Which companies have increased or decreased their turnover and their number of employees? What are the similarities and the differences between them?”

What do you hope that the project will result in?
“Hopefully increased knowledge about which type of tourism works where. We hope to be able to develop guidelines to assist those who work with national and regional development strategies, for example, as well as to provide guidance as to whether it is worth investing in a specific project.”

How can the hospitality sector benefit from this research?
“We hope that it will be of benefit for those who are going to start up or develop companies within the sector – an aid when taking decisions about investing and where this should be done. Is it in the right place? Are there any development opportunities there, or would the business work better somewhere else? The goal is to be able to influence locations and strategies so that the hospitality sector can manage even better in the future. We will maintain constant contact with the sector in order to ensure that it can benefit from what we are doing. And we will provide feedback on our results.”

What is the main challenge in the project?
“We have an enormous amount of data to work through. And it may be the case that we are unable to find and clear, general patterns, that there are exceptions when a venture is going well. And if this is the case, we have to say so. This in itself is knowledge.”

Describe yourself in brief:
“I am a Professor of Economics at Jönköping International Business School. I was awarded my Ph.D in 2008 on “Attractive cities”. My research related to why we want to live in certain places and not in others, and what the results of this are from a socio-economic perspective. I also work part-time at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. I work together with Richard Florida, who employed me there in 2008. Our starting point is that geography influences everything.”

Hospitality sector clusters: several different players who together share the ambition of creating a high level of attractiveness for a visitor destination.

Project facts


Success factors for hospitality sector clusters

Research organization

Jönköping International Business School

Project Manager

Charlotta Mellander, Professor of Economics


Johan Klaesson, Ph.D in Economics and Özge Öner, doctoral student studying regional economics, Jönköping International Business School


2013 Mar – 2015 Feb


SEK 1,700,000

Läs om projektet på svenska »


Charlotta Mellander


Foto: Charlotta Mellander


Johan Klaesson


Foto: Johan Klasson


Özge Öner


Foto: Özge Öner