Developing Cultural Tourism in Georgia
The main goal of the measure is to contribute to the country’s sustainable development through developing tourism in Georgia based on cultural resources such as monuments, archeological sites, cultural and natural landscapes, etc. and creative industries.
The measure aims at promoting and exploiting the economic potential of cultural resources (e.g. intangible, tangible and natural heritage, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, rituals traditional holidays, etc.) and developing creative industries in urban and rural areas for creation of unique and internationally competitive touristic experience.
In 2015 the Georgian Tourism Strategy 2015 – 2025 was developed with the support of the World Bank Group. Within the document the importance of the cultural heritage and cultural tourism is highlighted through different strategic objectives, such as protecting and developing Georgia’s natural and cultural heritage, creating unique and authentic visitor experiences centered on those natural and cultural assets, etc.
The development of cultural tourism is highlighted within the Culture Strategy 2025 through various tasks related with capacity building and awareness raising programmes about economy and marketing of cultural tourism, importance of synergy between cultural resources and creative industries. Strategy also focuses on promotion of public-private partnership engaging various state and non-state actors, cultural professionals, entrepreneurs and policymakers in developing cultural tourism. One of the priorities is also country’s integration in transnational cultural routes (e.g. the Europe Cultural Routes programme, UNWTO Silk Road Programme) as well as protection of cultural and natural heritage and environment from potentially negative impact of tourism.
The action plans for implementation of both tourism and culture development strategies envisage joint efforts and common activities to be implemented by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Ministry of Economy of Georgia in collaboration with other line ministries, business sector and civil society.
Despite the fact that only 7.6% of the Georgian citizens traveled within the regions for recreation, entertainment purposes in 2015, the amount of the international arrivals show promising picture with 7% growth in the same year. Moreover, the share of tourism in GDP went from 6.32% (2014) to 6.73% in 2015.
This leads to the notion of the World Bank in regards to the objectives of National Tourism Strategy, “According to [which] by 2025 Georgia will become well-known as a premier, year-round, high-quality tourism destination – centered on its unique cultural and natural heritage, world-class customer service, and timeless tradition of hospitality.
Georgia will be at the forefront of tourism competitiveness, through strategic investments in infrastructure, education, marketing, and the development of unique Georgian visitor experiences that appeal to high-value markets around the globe.” – World Bank, A Tourism Strategy for Georgia – New Path Ahead, December 7, 2015
Financial allocation will be estimated further to adoption of the both culture and torism development action plans by the end of 2016.