"Georgia has a long way to go in Tourism"
16 September, 2019
"Georgia has a long way to go in Tourism"
Because of the booming tourism industries, the Georgian government starts to implement regulations. “But this happens not fast enough, not efficient enough and not rigorous enough”, says Stefan Meister from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

Stefan Meister, Tourism is thriving in Georgia, it became one of the leading industries. Good news for the country, isn’t it?

Of course, this is an important economic benefit for Georgia, but there are downsides. Firstly, the highly dependence from one sector creates vulnerabilities. What if
there is a Terror-Attack one day? What if Russia – where most of the tourists come from – imposes a long-term ban like this summer when all direct flights were cancelled after the protests of the 20th of June? Secondly the infrastructure gets overstretched and is not prepared, for such a rise.

But isn’t the government investing heavily in infrastructure?

Yes, they do invest. But they cannot keep up with the development. In Georgia the whole infrastructure is outdated. Water pipes, streets, waste disposal just to begin with. Now you have these booming sectors – not only tourism but real estate as well. But the infrastructure isn’t ready. The effects are too much traffic, air pollution and very low water pressure in many households, because the pipelines or parking facilities are not prepared for streets with skyscrapers. Everybody I know in Tbilisi is angry about it.

So why don’t people request better air or better water pipes from their politicians?

There is a tremendous apathy after so many years of a completely deregulated economy. Here investors have so many rights and citizens feel powerless – and these few rights they have are not even well protected. We see this all the time. A neighbourhood stands up to fight certain changes, investors try to settle, if this is not working, they wait a few weeks and just do as they please.

But there are regulations. Recently Georgia implemented zone plans to regulate constructions in certain areas.

There are regulations, but they are often ignored.

Don’t you think the boom in tourism, could help changing that? Don’t a lot of people come to see Georgia’s natural sites?

Unfortunately, right now Georgia is aiming for the mass tourism and is not able to provide the infrastructure needed for sustainable tourism, it’s lacking a strategy, where it wants to go in this sector. There is no sustainable way of transportation. The railway system is limited and mostly in bad conditions. People travel by minibuses or in taxis, which is generating even more traffic and pollution. And tourists often take the easy way – so they all travel on the same paths and in consequence destroy a lot. It really is a vicious cycle.

At least National Parks have been created, over 10% of Georgia’s area is protected state land …

Yes, this is an important progress, but there are not enough people to supervise and protect these areas. Georgia is such a beautiful, small country with an incredible variety in landscape and very sensitive biosphere. But right now there is no sustainable development happening, but a commercialization. This is dangerous, much could be destroyed.

Stefan Meister is head of office of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung that is linked to the “Green Party” in Germany and financed by the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany. Before his arrival in Tbilisi on July 1st Stefan Meister worked 10 years for the think tank “German Council on Foreign Relations” covering all post-Soviet countries.

By Valérie Wacker

Related articles:

“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”

Mountaineer and pioneer: Nick Erkomaishvili

How "Spend Your Summer in Georgia" campaign started?

Batumi awarded Europe's Leading Emerging Tourism Destination 2019
Print
Other Stories
Parliament picket planned on November 26
Picketing is certainly not the best solution. Like what is happening in the streets is not good,
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
How to deal with Russia’s Hybrid Warfare?
Riot police started to disperse protesters near the Georgian Parliament
Riot police appeared on Chitadze Street in the vicinity of the Government’s Administration building. They were brought by yellow buses there.
Georgian parliament picketed, demonstrations still going on
Building of the Georgian parliament is picketed, every entrance is blocked by the protesters and MPs cannot enter the building.
Disappointment over failure about constitutional amendment in the US, PACE
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system yesterday.
Georgian Parliament did not support transition to the proportional electoral system
The Parliament has rejected the bill on constitutional amendments relating to the electoral system in the first reading.
Interview with the US Charge d'Affairs Elizabeth Rood
Ministry of Defence of Georgia hosts the 13th annual Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) 2019 in Batumi, Hotel Hilton.
Adam Kinzinger speaks about bipartisan support to Georgia at GDSC
Republicans and Democrats disagree in many things but we are united when it has to do with Georgia,
Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened in Batumi
Georgia is hosting the 13th Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) in Batumi on Wednesday.
German ambassador to Georgia calls for Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall
It would be good for those in charge in Tskhinvali and Moscow to learn the lessons of the Berlin Wall,
Bidzina Ivanishvili is ready to sell Panorama Tbilisi project
I am ready to hand over the project to interested businessmen at any stage,
US House of Representatives passes bipartisan Georgia Support Act
The United States House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Georgia Support Act,
Georgian MFA concerned over “illegal process of borderization”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the renewed illegal process of installing artificial barriers and barbed wire fences at the occupation line in the village of Atotsi, Kareli Municipality.
German President arrives in Tbilisi, welcomes dialogue between Georgian, Russian FMs
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes resumption of dialogue between Georgia and Russia at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Rose Gottemoeller visits Georgia
This visit is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our cooperation with Georgia even further.
Georgia needs to find peace to evolve, former Swiss ambassador says
One year before the elections the former Swiss ambassador Lukas Beglinger is sure that the country will soon face big changes.
Georgian MP slaps colleague, an argument erupts in the Parliament
Eka Beselia, the lawmaker who left the Georgian Dream party, hit majority MP Vano Zardiashvili at the sitting of the Legal Issues Committee.
Georgia will use all available means to rise up to the new Russian challenge, says Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
Georgia will use all available means to give a proper assessment and to stop Russia doing such things, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vladimir Konstantinid said
Swiss State Secretary: “Georgia is safe, we do not grant asylum”
2500 Georgians have sought asylum in Switzerland since 2016. Not one request has been granted. Now Switzerland wants Georgia to tackle irregular migration.
Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza discusses Georgia, NATO membership and Trump’s presidency with GJ
How can we explain the statement made by the former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen about the possibility for Georgia to join NATO?
NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon visits Khurvaleti village
President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon has arrived in the village of Didi Khurvaleti, in the Gori municipality, located near the Administrative Boundary Line.
“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”
“With big money you can either build or destroy something”, says Vano Vashakmadze. The consultant for development in tourism helped to work out the new zone planning implemented by the government.
Mamuka Khazaradze establishes Lelo movement
The public movement of TBC Bank's founder Mamuka Khazaradze will be called Lelo.
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to establish social movement in Anaklia
The presentation of the social movement of the founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze will be held tomorrow, September 12, in Anaklia. The event begins at 12:00.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen offers Georgia a way to join NATO
Georgia should start an internal discussion of whether it would be acceptable to join NATO without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secreatry General of North-Atlantic Teaty Organisation, said.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.11.2019
22.11.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9776
2.9781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2956
3.3000
GBP
1
GBP
3.8444
3.8549
RUB
100
RUB
4.6553
4.6712
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.9781
EUR
1
EUR
3.3000
GBP
1
GBP
3.8549
RUB
100
RUB
4.6712
November 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30