This week I am featured in a great Sustainability Leaders Project, interviewed as the first sustainable tourism expert on the Caucasus region. The project is an invaluable knowledge hub for tourism professionals interested in the latest trends, strategies and success stories in sustainable tourism. It offers more than 150 interviews with tourism professionals in over 30 countries worldwide, where professionals tell their stories and share their thoughts on how they approach sustainability.
I talked about my experience in making tourism more sustainable in the Caucasus region, particularly in Georgia. Here are some of the questions I was asked:
- As an expert in mountain tourism, which are the main challenges in developing and managing e.g. alpine destinations sustainably?
- Which are the main topics or concerns linked to tourism sustainability at the moment in the Caucasus region, especially Georgia and Armenia?
- How important is a destination’s sustainability performance nowadays for its competitiveness?
- Together with the World Bank you are currently setting up sustainable destination management organizations in Georgia, as well as helping establish strategies for regional and national tourism marketing in the country. Can you tell us more about this work, especially how you integrate destination marketing with management?
- Having experienced so many places, what made you fall in love with this specific region (Caucasus)?
I may have been quite harsh in this interview on tourism decision makers and other stakeholders in Georgia, challenging them for the lack of interest in the impact of climate change, not enough care about environmental protection, lack of leadership in developing tourism in a sustainable way.
However, I also pointed out than there are many positive developments. And there are enough caring and ethically-motivated people who want to preserve the region’s rich and unspoiled natural and cultural heritage.
And I stress one more time like I did in the interview: It is an absolutely fascinating place on Earth that is worth exploring, and if anyone is prepared to step off the beaten track a bit, they can still have the experience of the incredible hospitality, bizarre unforgettable adventures and the most pristine nature I had back in 2001.
I hope you enjoy the interview and learn more about tourism in the Caucasus region.