In the framework of European policies on tourism, IPA CBC Programme financed the Adriatic Route Project for Thematic Tourism. As competition between tourism destinations increases, local culture is becoming an increasingly valuable source of new products and activities to attract and amuse tourists. Gastronomy has a particularly important role to play in this, not only because food is central to the tourist experience, but also because gastronomy has become a significant source of identity formation in postmodern societies.
Other than gastronomy and culture, alternative forms of tourism include also rural tourism, religious tourism, eco-tourism, sports tourism etc.
Benefits brought by the development and promotion of those forms of tourism are significant:
Prolongation of tourism season
Expansion of tourism activities (i.e. differentiation of the tourism product)
Promotion of local identities
Creation of sustainable and high-quality jobs
Attraction of high-income, educated and sophisticated tourists.
Furthermore, alternative forms of tourism seem to represent a continuously growing market segment which is expected to account for 20% of all travel, set to grow faster than any other segment. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) predicts that most of the increase in European tourism receipts in the next decades will come from alternative forms of travel.
The lack of a systematized approach for the promotion of the whole territory combined with seasonality and massiveness of tourism in many Adriatic areas, implies that alternative forms of tourism have not been thoroughly examined and exploited in the cross-border area, leaving thus a lot of space for formulation and implementation of relevant common initiatives. Furthermore, the lack of accessibility to touristic information along with the limited number of communication media used for the promotion of tourism/cultural/natural resources highlight the need for a more integrated ICT-based approach.
There are few initiatives currently on the promotion of tourism/cultural/natural resources through the web that however put emphasis merely on the resources themselves and have mostly a pure local/regional focus. Unlike them, ADRIATICROUTE aims at combining those resources with the available transport infrastructures, since accessibility is among the key criteria for selecting a tourism destination, as well as to embrace the whole Adriatic area through common presentation and promotion and facilitate transfer from one region / country to the other.