I have been travelling to Georgia since 2001 and working there, on and off, since 2007. I have also focused all my academic research on Georgian tourism while stydying for the MSc in Responsible Tourism Management. I am now keen to see how the current coronavirus crisis will impact the country I have grown so fond of over the last 20 years. If anyone wants to share their insights and contribute to it, please get it touch!
I have seen how tourism has changed the whole country and its regions, cities and villages; how it has impacted – both positively and negatively – on culture, certain traditions, architecture, the local people and the natural environment. It has been an interesting, sometimes daunting and upsetting, but always fascinting process to observe. I am happy for many friends in Georgia who financially benefit from tourism, but I have also been concerned about the negative impacts of the rapid growth.
The current coronavirus crisis provides a new angle to observe the changes for tourism in Georgia. I have been researching this online and through speaking to several people on the ground who provide me with fascinating insights. As a result, I am working on a series of articles on the impact of Covid19 on Georgian tourism: the government’s response, the impact on business and SMEs, on ecotourism and Protected Areas, on changes in tourists’ behaviours etc. I wrote the first one last week on the early government response. The second one on the opportunities from the current crisis will be published this week on http://www.resilientdestinations.com
I believe this work will support better decision making and benefit the Georgian tourism industry as a whole, as it will summarize, monitor and document the events as well as the impacts, the reactions and the responses as they develop. I will look at trends, risks, good practice, dos and don’ts as well as new opportunities for the tourism sector to bounce back but perhaps with a new approach – ideally with a more sustainable tourism focused on the quality of the travel experience rather than the race to constantly increase the visitor numbers.
If anyone wants to contribute by sharing their insights, either from Georgia or other destinations (DMOs, government agencies, tourism businesses, Protected Areas, heritage organisations etc) please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
DIDI MADLOBA, a BIG THANK YOU!