Georgia's north-western highland region of Svaneti will receive a destination development plan for the region in the latest push for a wider promotion of the picturesque location for visitors and extreme sports enthusiasts.
Supported by Austria, Sweden, European Union and the United States Agency for International Development, the initiative was confirmed by Dominik Papenheim, the Team Leader for Economic Development and Trade at the EU Delegation to Georgia, who was quoted by GRETA on May 6 as saying the plan would promote the region on “European and international markets”.
Papenheim said the governments and the EU were supporting the work for the plan to ensure the promotion and serve the “development and economic strengthening of this beautiful region”.
In his comments, the Austrian Ambassador Thomas Mühlmann said the province could display its potential in mountain skiing sports and tourism on a global scale and promote it by hosting international tournaments.
The comments came after Svaneti in May hosted Freeride Week, an event run as part of the Freeride World Tour worldwide series of freeride snowboarding and skiing, as part of a push to encourage improvement of the business climate and creation of new revenue prospects in the locality.
Photo via Mountain Trails Agency
In addition to sporting events, the Freeride Week included cultural performances and culinary experiences, with Marika Olson, the Director of the USAID Economic Growth Office in Georgia, pointing out the programme aimed to increase the potential and awareness of adventure tourism in Georgia's remote highland regions and thereby support local economies.
Guram Vashakmadze, an organiser of mountain tourism events, said the effect of the competition had “both primary and long-term benefits” through increased awareness of the region and its tourism potential.
Levan Metreveli, a co-organiser of the Freeride Week, said hosting similar events was “crucial” for the development of sports and tourist industries as foreign visitors, competitors and fans served as “brand ambassadors” for the selected destinations by sharing their impressions following the experiences.