The UNWTO has launched a biodiversity project in
Georgia to help protect mountain and freshwater ecosystems through
The project, to be carried out by the UNWTO
Consulting Unit on Tourism and Biodiversity, will develop tourism
products in mountain and freshwater ecosystems in four protected
areas in the country, in order to raise awareness of these areas,
as well as generate income for their conservation.
Potential products to be developed include a
zip-line route, a canopy rope walk and a canoeing trail. A
marketing strategy will also be devised to promote the new
products, as well as training workshops for nature protection
authorities, tourism officials and other local stakeholders.
Launched in Tbilisi, Georgia on the occasion of
World Environment Day (5 June), in the presence of the Georgian
Minister for Environment, the Chairman of the Georgian Agency of
Protected Areas and the Head of the Georgian National Tourism
Administration, the project will run until spring 2014, by which
time a number of sustainable, biodiversity-based tourism products
will be in place and run by local stakeholders.
“Georgia, as part of the Caucasus region, is a
biodiversity hotspot. These hotspots are recognized globally as
priority sites, based on criteria such as the diversity of species
and plant types, and this rich biodiversity increases Georgia’s
attractiveness as a tourist destination,” said the Head of the
Georgian National Tourism Administration, Maia Sidamonidze.
“Ecotourism can fund conservation, contribute to the protection of
endangered ecosystems and promote development in poor areas.
However, there are also examples of tourism having a negative
impact on the environment. In light of these contradictory
impacts, this project aims to reduce such conflicts by raising
awareness of these areas for protection.”
The project is supported by the German Federal
Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear
Safety and will be implemented by the Georgian Agency for
Protected Areas, the Georgian National Tourism Administration and
the Centre for Research and Sciences (NACRES).
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