UN tourism head calls world to invest in Georgia

Bakuriani is a skiing resort in Georgia at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level. Photo by N.Alavidze
Agenda.ge, 10 Apr 2014 - 14:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Secretary-General believes it is an ideal time to invest in Georgia’s tourism sector and has appealed to global tourism sector insiders to support Georgia’s growing tourism market.

After visiting Georgia last week and being involved in numerous high-level meetings with Government officials, Taleb Rifai has come out and praised Georgia’s tourism potential at the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism in Andorra la Vella.

"I have just arrived from very a beautiful country called Georgia. I participated in high-level meetings and believe me this is a country with a growing tourism market. Georgia has great potential and it is right time for the world to invest in this country,” Rifai said at the end of his welcoming speech at event.

He said he had great respect for Georgia and would organize an initial meeting with representatives of Georgia’s ski resorts.

Rifai paid an official visit to Georgia on April 6 and 7 with the aim of further strengthening cooperation between Georgia and UNWTO and implement the joint regional projects.

During his visit, Rifai came up with the initiative to focus on rural, ski, mountain and urban tourism development in Georgia.

Georgia is earning a global reputation as the powder playground of the Caucasus. The Caucasus Mountains attract the attention of national and international tourists and sportsmen, as the area boasts the highest peaks in Europe. This includes Mount Shkhara, which is 5,068m above sea level and gives shelter to the village of Ushguli, the highest village in Europe.

See also infographics: Georgian Tourism 2013 

Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi is very close to the mountain range, which is often dumped in snow. This area is popular during winter, particularly the country’s three major ski resorts - Gudauri, Bakuriani and Mestia.

See also in pictures on www.agenda.ge: Bakuniani - "ex Soviet Davos"

Meanwhile the annual Congress in Andorra la Vella, Andorra, is being attended by more than 500 experts in the snow and mountain tourism sector, who gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities of international snow and mountain destinations.

The event also focused on acquiring an overview of successful business models, innovation, the impact of climate change and tourism marketing.