The ICAD Foundation and organization Pro Motion Georgia have been implementing projects supporting the development of tourism in Georgia since 2014. The main goal of the projects was to support tourism potential in those regions of the country where it was not fully used – despite the growing number of tourists.
The aim of these projects is the development and promotion of local tourism, including the discovery of new tourist attractions, and the promotion of forgotten cultural monuments. The projects are characterized by a great range of activity – they contribute to the development of tourist infrastructure in regions, implement mountain trail marking with the, the promotion of the new touristic routes in Georgia, but the most important part is the activation of local communities that are the main beneficiaries of the development of sustainable tourism. The projects have been implemented through the support of local administrations.
Project Support for the local administration of the regions of Megrelia and Racha in the implementation of the regional tourism promotion policy. The exchange of experience with the Imereti region, began in 2016 and is an extension and continuation of activities from 2014 and 2015. This time project focuses on the development of local tourism in the regions of Racha (Oni District) and Megrelia (Martvili District).
Within the framework of the project, actions were taken to exchange experience in the field of sustainable tourism between the regions of Racha and Megrelia with the Imereti region already involved in previous projects
One of the first steps of the project was the activation of local youth through conducted training in the use of their own potential in the development of regional tourism. The participants of the training were mainly students of the tourism department of the University of Kutaisi, young guides, as well as interested local youth. The trainings were conducted by experts from Poland and Georgia.
During the project our partner Pro Motion Georgia organised an exchange between the regions for the selected beneficiaries of the training interested in working in the tourist industry. The participants visited neighbouring regions, exchanged experiences and supplemented knowledge about the tourism potential of the regions.
Second very important element of the project was the recruitment and training of representatives of rural households. In the region of Racha and Megrelia we carried out the selection and subsequent recruitment of representatives of households that met the requirements necessary to receive guests such as sufficient location, accommodation and gastronomic possibilities. Thanks to training with experts in the field of gastronomy and micro-entrepreneurship, guesthouses were created – offering accommodation and meals, as well as individual services such as wine tasting, local cuisine, hiking, horseback riding and off-road trips.
The project implementation has also contributed to the development of horse and trekking tourism. In both regions, characterized by ideal conditions for mountain tourism, four new routes have been created, which have been marked and described in the folder promoting the regions. In the Racha region, detailed maps and guidelines for navigating the designated routes were also created.
A very important stage of the project was to collect and prepare information on three regions that were used to prepare a folder promoting tourism: “Explore Georgia – Visit Kutaisi, Visit Oni, and Visit Martvili”. The folder contains a comprehensive description of tourist, cultural and natural values, and the districts of Oni, Martvili and Kutaisi. The materials promoting the regions contain descriptions of individual tourist attractions, photos, maps and travel tips. The promotion of the folder took place in several stages, the Kutaisi Administration and the Tourist Information Canter in Kutaisi took a big part in the promotion, the first meetings promoting the folder were organized in Kutaisi, Martvili and Oni, during those meetings participants could learn more about the project activities and receive new folders. The promotion of the folder and tourist potential of the regions was also held in Poland, at the International Tourist Fair in Warsaw WORLD TRAVEL SHOW 2017 (www.worldtravelshow.pl) and during meetings with the audience interested in Georgia in Warsaw, Poznan (partner city Kutaisi) and Czarnkow ( partner town of Martvili).
Promotion of the effects of the project and tourist potential of the regions took place using social networks. As part of the project activities created Facebook pages of the districts Oni and Martvili
Projects completed so far Previous projects:
Project: “Tourism development – chance for Imereti. Local market support”. (2015) Performed actions:
- Website development – www.visitkutaisi.com
- Accurate descriptions of hiking trails
- Information about accommodation in Imereti
- Design, print and distribution of the “Welcome to Kutaisi and Imereti” tourist guide, along with further distribution of the 2014 map.
- Promotion of the region in social media including the creation of the Facebook page
- Training of 5 farms and 3 wineries in the field of local marketing, customer service and preparation and promotion of their products.
- Training for 30 people in sales and customer service. Most of the households and wineries trained in 2015 continue to cooperate with the Foundation and the local partner in project activities.
Project: “Development of touristic potential in the Imereti region. Support for the local labour market.” (2014) Performed actions:
- Description of tourist attractions, maps of Kutaisi and the surrounding area
- Distribution of printed Georgian and English materials in restaurants, hotels, interested institutions and information points
- Training for tourist guides, which enabled the beneficiaries to start working in the tourism sector
- Promotion on social networking sites
- Design and launch of the first version of the website