Much of tourism development is predicated on the successful working of organisations alignment in the form of partnerships or “networks”. However, tourism networks have been relatively neglected as an area of academic study. This paper presents findings of research focusing on international tourism networks and draws out learning points from the examination of relatively successful examples. A review of relevant literature considers the definition and description of networks, their benefits, and identifiable success factors, and the research methodology applied is described. Discussion follows as to the main functions and benefits of tourism networks in relation to learning and exchange, business activity, and community. Key issues that emerge include: structure and leadership, resourcing, engagement of participants, inter-organisational learning, and sustainability. The paper concludes by identifying significant success factors and consequential management implications with specific references to tourism destinations as learning communities.
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