Tbilisi, December 3, 2014 – The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) with the technical and financial support from the World Bank Group have launched today the process of elaboration of the national tourism strategy, following extensive consultations with a variety of stakeholders in the past few months.
“Tourism development is one of the priorities for the Government of Georgia, because this sector plays a significant role in socioeconomic development of the country,” said Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. “The tourism sector incorporates many different fields, therefore close inter-agency coordination is essential for its development. In addition, cooperation with private and non-governmental sectors is also important. Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned factors, elaboration of tourism strategy will clearly identify the challenges existing in the sector and define the main directions that will become the basis for development of this important sector in the country.”
“The World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy with Georgia regards the development of the tourism sector, related business opportunities and private investments, as a priority for the country’s economic development,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “The joint World Bank and IFC collaboration focuses on fostering entrepreneurship and access to finance, improving the investment climate, and developing Georgia’s tourism strategy that will determine how to improve the sector’s performance, align implementation priorities and enable job growth.”
“Tourism and travel is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy in Georgia and a key generator of jobs, accounting for 14.2 percent of total direct and indirect employment in 2013 and 6-7 percent of GDP,” said Ahmed Eiweida, Program Leader for Sustainable Development Programs in the South Caucasus. “The sector currently provides nearly 20 percent of export earnings. The national tourism development strategy is, therefore, an instrument to take full advantage of Georgia’s potential and position it globally as a rich, diversified and high quality destination.“
During the workshop, GNTA presented the key findings identified during the preparation process. The World Bank hired a consulting firm, Solimar International, shared global experiences of vision formulation and tourism strategies. Participants discussed the challenges facing the sector and the proposed Vision 2025 for the tourism sector.
Public discussion of relevant topics will take place after the presentation. Subsequently, the document, together with an action plan, will be finalized in spring 2015 for approval by the Government of Georgia.