Ecotourism: Georgia’s Forestry Potential Underestimated
29 November, 2016
Ecotourism: Georgia’s Forestry Potential Underestimated
Georgia’s potential to be a top destination for nature and ecotourism is being under-prioritized.

The forestry sectors in other countries plays a huge role in developing such tourism, and Georgia should be no exception– 40 percent of Georgia’s land is covered by extremely rich forest which can be utilized for greater profit than mere domestic purposes. Creating recreational areas will contribute to the effective management of forest zones and increase socio-economic development.

Georgia’s forests are generally managed by the National Forestry Agency, a LEPL under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection. Unfortunately, the agency has little experience with recreational forest management and, therefore, has yet to implement much activity in this direction.

However, the country does have a better example of forestry management capability in the Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia, which has demonstrated great success over the past 10 years of operating recreational forests. About 75 percent of the Protected Areas in Georgia is covered by forest, and management is an essential part of the administration duties.

For centuries, the usage of forest resources has been associated with timber acquisition. Firewood, agricultural or commercial production of timber has been an intense process, which still continues today. Such practice has seen negative effects in many developed countries where large areas of forest were destroyed. 95 percent of forests in Europe are an example of this destructive practice, resulting in altered landscapes and falling numbers of forest fauna. Consequently, the recreational value of such forests drops significantly.

In recent years, the tendency to use forests for recreation and tourism purposes is gaining in popularity. Today’s overly busy and stressful lifestyle creates a demand for recreational areas which allow urban residents to get closer to nature, relax and unwind. Additionally, the creation of recreational spaces contributes to the quality of living, opens employment opportunities, improves the health of the local population and plays its part in the country’s economic development.

One fine example of such a recreational area already up and running in Georgia is “Sviana,” located in Stori Valley in the Telavi Municipality of Kakheti region. The importance of the area is significant because the valley is characterized by rugged terrain and rich biodiversity. In addition, a 30 km road runs along the valley, the only road leading to the Tusheti Protected Areas, which is generally packed with tourists from May to September.

The pilot initiative to reinforce the recreational possibilities of the River Stori
ravine is being implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation, in partnership with CENN (the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network), within the scope of the project Sustainable Forest Governance in Georgia.

The Women’s Committee of Pshavi village, established by CENN in 2010, aims to make the Pshavi women more active in natural resource management and to develop the economy of the village itself. Today, there are 10 members in the Committee. The village’s proximity to Sviana and the Stori Valley led CENN to give full management of the area to them, along with the opportunity to create tourist services and generate their own income.

According to Natia Saakashvili, the Sviana Development Project Coordinator, the recreation area already has seven movable and two static tables, with four grills for barbeques. The Committee plans to set up open stands to enable locals to sell various items, such as locally made tone bread, cheeses and handmade souvenirs typical to the region. “Additionally, we will have a children’s playground for family visits and a camping area for backpackers,” she says, adding that the personnel serving in the area will have a branded uniform to raise the awareness among visitors.

To reduce the impact on the environment and reduce the use of plastic single-use utensils, the Committee plans to offer multi-use kitchen utensils for rent. And all the profit that comes from the Sviana recreational area will be used by the Committee to strengthen it and the village itself.

The pace of urban development and rapidly growing city populations is generating a new wave in the tourism sector – ecotourism. This should be taken as a sign for the need to maintain forests and to give them another purpose besides timber production for the generation of revenue. Take Sviana as a good example.

Baia Dzagnidze

Source: Georgia Today


Related Stories:

Experience unforgettable Eco-tourism in Adjara


Breathtaking but unknown: Georgia’s beautiful places that tourists have no idea about
Print
Other Stories
Tvishi – Semi-sweet wine from Lechkhumi with the taste you will never forget
Tvishi is an appellation of origin and this wine is made of Tsolikouri grapes, making it one of the most distinctive Georgian white semi-sweet wines.
Extraordinary container hotel built in Gudauri, Georgia
Forget a cosy chalet, these days to be down with the kids you should be spending your ski holiday in a shipping container
“Discover Tbilisi” - Trams inviting tourists to Georgia in Switzerland
In the city of Basel, Switzerland, advertising banners depicting the capital of Georgia Tbilisi is to be seen on the tramways.
Interesting facts about Kakhetian wines
Georgian winemaking is unimaginable without its easternmost region of Kakheti.
Georgian building among 13 most bizarre Soviet-era constructions
Georgian brutalist building of the Ministry of Highways has been named among the most amazing buildings constructed by Soviet architects by Business Insider.
 Guess Georgia’s famous sites – Creative puzzle by Georgian designer
Perhaps everyone has seen various puzzles about guessing the names of the world famous cities.
Khvantchkara – Extraordinary Georgian wine produced since 1870s in Racha
Viticulture and winemaking is one of the oldest fields in all the Georgian regions and Racha is no exception.
Kakheti among CNN’s 11 great wine regions you've probably never heard of
Burgundy, Napa Valley, Marlborough, Tuscany -- true wine fans have probably already ticked the great grape regions off their lists.
12 Stunning Photos That Will Make You Visit Georgia This Summer
If you have not visited Georgia yet and wonder why you should put it on your travel list, then check out these 12 photos provided by Dubaiofw.com.
Climbing in the Caucasus: postcard views from the towers of Ushguli, Georgia – The Guardian
“The people of Ushguli live among some of the highest continuously inhabited villages in Europe and the Unesco-listed Upper Svaneti region’s
Soviet-time labels of Georgian wines
There was a time, when the wines were not labeled at all and the first etiquettes were used somewhere in the 18th century.
A trip to winter Svaneti: Medieval castles meet modern ski resort
Svaneti, Georgia’s historical highland, is a popular destination among tourists during summer season,
First digital wine guide in Georgia: Cellars, hotels and restaurants on one map
By the initiative of Georgian Wine Association, the first wine tourism guide equipped with QR codes navigation system was created.
3000-year-old discovery in Gurjaani village
The village of Gurjaani, Kakheti region has experienced a unique discovery.
The Architecture in Tbilisi, Georgia, Is Worth the Trip Alone- VOGUE
Georgian capital has found its place in VOGUE magazine once again. This time the famous publication sets light on the city's varied architecture.
Tbilisi among 21 European cities you never thought to visit – but definitely should
Fancy a city break without the crowds? The Telegraph gives a list of underrated European destinations for a weekend
Winter wonderland – Georgia’s frozen Dashbashi Canyon
Georgia’s Dashbashi Canyon transforms into a real miracle in winter time.
 Kakheti among Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017 – Forbes
Forbes published the list of top 12 underrated wine regions to visit in 2017 that features Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region too.
Top 5 attractions to visit in Tbilisi for free
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, rich in culture, history and many attractions, where various cultures are intertwined, has many things to offer for free.
Amazing Kakheti captured from helicopter by Georgian photographer
Georgia is famous for its varied landscape and impressive nature that changes from region to region.
Georgia among Forbes' 30 cheapest places to travel in 2017
Forbes published the list of 30 cheapest places to travel in 2017 where Georgia is included as well.
 Georgia listed among VOGUE's 10 hottest travel destinations of 2017
Georgia has been named among top 10 hottest travel destinations of 2017 by VOGUE.
Winter Holidays in Georgia for non-skiers
In recent years, Georgia has made a major breakthrough in terms of winter recreation
Top 5 affordable hotels at Georgia's winter resorts
Georgia has a lot to offer in the winter season.
Winter season opens in Georgia: What the resorts offer you this year
The Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry’s Company for the Development of Mountainous Resorts says this year’s winter season in Bakuriani, Gudauri, Svaneti and Goderdzi
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
A Georgian couple, who travels to the different regions of Georgia, has shared many adventures and interesting stories with us.
An amazing video featuring a lucky tourist given VIP treatment and dinner with the Prime Minister of Georgia went viral on the internet.
Georgia prepared a special surprise to the 6 000 000th tourist who entered the country in 2016.
Dirk Wagener, a German photographer, outdoorer, skier, and a journalist, along with his team of photographers and filmers are always in a search for the best places
Yet another amazing video of snow-covered Georgia’s landscape has emerged on the internet.
Yet another video featuring fascinating Sabaduri Forest located near Tbilisi has emerged on the internet.
Business Insider UK published an incredible footage shot in Georgia.
Khevsureti, located in the northern part of Georgia, is one of the most remote historical regions of the country.
Georgia is impressive in winter and many tourists visit the mountainous resorts to enjoy everything the snow-covered mountains can offer.
George Khelashvili, a photographer and his wife, Mary Sekhniashvili, a videographer are traveling around Georgia.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.4472
EUR
1
EUR
2.6408
GBP
1
GBP
3.0431
RUB
100
RUB
4.2951