Emerging economy entrepreneurs and open data: Decision-making for natural disaster resilience
The aim of this study is to examine the role of Open Data in entrepreneurial decision-making in a destination threatened by natural disasters and located in an emerging economy. The region of La Araucanía, in Chile, was chosen because it constantly faces the threat of devastating natural disasters and is also the poorest region of Chile. Primary data was collected through semi-structured interviews and awareness-building workshops, with a convenience sample of 32 entrepreneurs out of 150 registered for Federation of Tourism Businesses (FEDETUR’s CET) program. The study found that local entrepreneurs are reasonably aware of the advantages and disadvantages of platforms that link supply and demand for tourism services. However, they express little interest or trust in publicly available information, and use terms like ‘internet data’ and ‘technology’ interchangeably with ‘information’ and ‘platforms’. We conclude that in order for entrepreneurs in emerging economies to strengthen their businesses’ resilience to natural disasters in the digital economy era, adjustments in their decision-making processes need to be made. Tourism-dependent places situated in emerging economies rely heavily on micro and small businesses. Greater awareness of how future economies are both ‘atom-enabled’ (landscape and other tourism resources) and ‘bit-dependent’ (digitalization of tourism) would benefit tourism entrepreneurs facing natural disaster-induced business disruptions by enabling timely and more appropriate responses. The study opens the academic debate on the role that open data could come to play in entrepreneurial decision-making within emerging economies when tourism businesses are disrupted by natural disasters.