Georgia hosted 3rd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference in Tbilisi on 4-7 April, 2017. The conference was organized by UNWTO (The World Tourism Organization) and the Government of Georgia with the Georgian Mountain Resorts Development Company. International experts discussed current and future challenges to create a platform for exchanging of innovative initiatives under the name of ‘Innovative Strategies for Sustainable Mountain Tourism Development’.
The conference highlighted the potential of various sustainable tourism development approaches that opt for a responsible role of any tourism activity and are in line with the local community’s need and which allow them to be involved in the decision-making and investment process. By utilizing local accommodation, food, music, art, crafts and traditions it conserves not only mountain heritage but also safeguards its natural environment.
There were some recommendations given: Integrated and comprehensive planning is a key success factor when developing mountain resorts. Also, public support and appropriate legal framework areas are often the basic for a successful development of mountain areas. At the session the huge impact of innovative initiatives and digital media were discussed to capture the target markets and to offer a high quality and smart visitor experience.
‘Georgia is not very well-known in the world for its mountain resorts,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO. “And it deals with very serious issues of seasonality. Snow and Mountain tourism is something that we have been focusing on for a long time as it is an important niche on the tourism market. At this conference, the international participants have witnessed two important things: one is the phenomenal growth in the number of tourists visiting Georgia within the past two years. The second important occasion is that the UN General Assembly has declared this year as the International Year of the Sustainable Development of Tourism. So, to have this event in Georgia, connected with sustainable development, protection of society as well as the environment, is very important. For these reasons, I’m delighted to be here in Georgia to show the whole world what we can offer’.