Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava discussed the EU tourism support programs at a meeting with Dominik Papenheim, the Thematic Coordinator for Economic Development and Market opportunities at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Philipp Steinheim, the representative of the German development agency (GiZ) and Gerhard Schaumberger, the Head of Austrian Development Agency in Georgia. Special attention was paid to the implementation of the guides certification plan.
The Minister stressed the importance of the tourism sector for Georgia and its impact on the country’s economic life and highlighted that the Government is doing its best to help the sector to overcome the crisis as soon as possible. “We are helping the private sector to open up the local tourism market to domestic as well as international travelers in a timely manner,” – Natia Turnava said.
The Minister briefed the guests on the Tourism Development Strategy and Action Plan, which was prepared in accordance with the challenges due to covid-19 and aims at preparing the tourism industry for the safe service in the post-pandemic period. The Minister paid special attention to the adaptation of one of the most numerous groups in the industry, the guides to the requirements of post-pandemic reality.
It was noted at the meeting that the European Union will help the Georgian side to prepare a system of voluntary certification of guides. To this end, an action plan will be developed based on the best international experience. It was noted that Georgia already has good practices of cooperation with the Austrian side within a project for mountain guides school in Gudauri.
Natia Turnava mentioned that the training of guides is extremely important in terms of post-covid challenges. "Georgia - a safe haven - is a message we plan to present to the world. Thus, every link in our tourism industry must meet the strictest safety requirements. This also applies to guides whose certification system we are working on. Guide associations will be actively involved in this process and all this will be used to improve the service quality and introduce safety rules in this area,” – Natia Turnava said.
Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Irakli Nadareishvili and Deputy Head of the National Tourism Administration Medea Janiashvili also attended the meeting.
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