I first went to Georgia exactly 20 years ago (in 2001), fell in love with its nature and people, and have been back and forth nearly 20 times.
For the last 20 years I have been closely watching and experiencing the rapid growth of tourism in the Caucasus region, with all its positive and negative economic, social and environmental impacts, as a tourist, tourism consultant and academic researcher. Here are some thoughts on the Georgian tourism for the prestigious Sustainability Leaders Project project.
I am a sustainable tourism consultant advising governments and organisations to ensure that tourism benefits the local people and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage in destinations. I specialise in the Caucasus region and Eastern and Central Europe.
I have worked as a Communications Manager for the Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Western Balkans programme at the UK’s Department for International Development. Since 2015, I have worked as a Sustainable Tourism Expert on tourism development projects for national and local governments as well as for the World Bank, the German Development Agency GIZ in Georgia, Armenia, Serbia and Albania, and the WWF Caucasus. You can see more here.
I have an excellent understanding of global trends in sustainable tourism and sustainability best practices by businesses and destinations. I have completed the MSc in Responsible Tourism Management with a Distinction, and have focused all my academic research on tourism in Georgia, including my dissertation on tourism in Tusheti Protected Areas.
I was also one of the four volunteers who started the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) project in 2015 out of passion to make hiking in the Caucasus safer and more accessible for everyone. I worked on it until 2019, and am still fully supporting the work that goes into building the TCT.
I hope you will enjoy this blog. Thanks for looking!