Adventure Tourism in Georgia: Opportunities for Recovery and GrowthPublished: Mar 1, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Discover the new hiking trails in Georgia and Armenia, developed with the help of USAID and People in Need, to attract visitors to rural and adventure tourism. Learn how local partners and the Transcaucasian Trail initiative are promoting cross-border tourism and supporting sustainability.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the rural and adventure tourism sector in Georgia and Armenia. However, as the economy recovers, new opportunities are emerging in the tourism market. With greater international demand for outdoor activities and stronger domestic and regional tourism markets, People in Need (PIN) Georgia, with funding from USAID Economic Development, Governance, and Enterprise Growth (EDGE), created a network of rural and adventure tourism stakeholders and support actors in the region.
To attract visitors to these new tourism market segments, PIN Georgia has scouted and developed new hiking trails in the Akhalkalaki municipality and the Mtskheta-Mtianeti (Aragvi) regions in Georgia, and the Shirak and Lori regions in Armenia, and connected them to the growing Transcaucasian Trail initiative. The trails, which act as a "honeypot" to attract new visitors to these rural areas, have received necessary capacity building, small grant assistance, and promotional material to maximize business opportunities.
Local partners, such as the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and Women Resource Centers (WRCs), played a strong role in bringing together key stakeholders from public, private, and civil society sectors in their respective regions. They facilitated the initial local buy-in for the development of the new hiking trails and will coordinate trail maintenance in the future.
Promotional visits were organized for 15 tour operators and guides to explore the region, get introduced to the tourism offerings, and establish connections with local service providers. The tour included a visit to Kartsakhi Lake (also called Lake Khozapini), an area included in the new trails, and the guest houses alongside these newly identified trails.
The collaboration of LAG Akhalkalaki with PIN Georgia and Transcaucasian Trail started last year, focusing on training that engaged local people, especially young people, in tourism development and promotion.
The new hiking trails have already shown promise in attracting visitors and supporting tourism development in the region. Nanita Zautashvili, the tour operator of Ntravel from Kutaisi, said: "The promotion of tourist trails for the development and support of tourism is very necessary for our country. Until now, I didn't pay much attention to trails. However, the promo tour pushed me to start thinking about it."
Discover the hidden gems of rural and adventure tourism in Georgia and Armenia with these new hiking trails and the support of local partners and the Transcaucasian Trail initiative.