Vol. 13 No. 5 (2022):
Research Article

Tourism Innovation in the Adriatic-Ionian Region: Questioning the Understanding of Innovation

Daniela Angelina Jelinčić
Institute for Development and International Relations
Sanja Tišma
Institute for Development and International Relations
The Adriatic and Ionian Region (AIR)

Published 2022-12-29


  • innovation,
  • tourism,
  • sustainability,
  • Adriatic-Ionian region

How to Cite

Jelinčić, Daniela Angelina, and Sanja Tišma. 2022. “Tourism Innovation in the Adriatic-Ionian Region: Questioning the Understanding of Innovation”. European Journal of Geography 13 (5):97-114. https://doi.org/10.48088/ejg.d.jel.


Today, tourism as the most important global service industry faces many challenges, which call for innovations. Innovation is largely fostered through a number of European Union (EU) funding programs. In tourism, innovations most often include production innovations (new products and services), process innovations (new ways of delivering tourist services), logistical innovations (new ways of providing products/services to tourists), and market innovations (new marketing methods or market behavior). In order to detect the number and types of tourism innovations funded by the EU in the Adriatic-Ionian region (AIR), a research has been done throughout 2020-2022. The purpose of the research was to detect projects fostering innovations in sustainable tourism, analyze their innovation capacity and propose possible policy enhancements. Research methodology included a desk research and a survey. In total, 88 projects were detected fostering different types of innovations. An uneven geographical distribution and financial incentives for innovative projects were detected. Also, the lack of clear understanding of the concept of innovation has been found not only by funded projects but also by seconded national administration in the AIR. The research results showed that financial incentives, although welcome, do not always foster innovations. Rather, an effective governance should be in place to tailor the appropriate financial incentives and guide the process. In this way, mediocre solutions are avoided. The contribution of the research is seen in the guidelines for growth and improvements in the development of innovation in sustainable tourism in the AIR.


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