British Media Tour in Georgia
As fall weather starts turning the Georgian landscape into an orange paradise, the country will host ten guests from British media who will visit some of Georgia’s most outstanding sightseeing spots around the areas of Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Kakheti, Kazbegi and Gudauri. The Media Tour is operated by the British-Georgian Chamber of Commerce (BGCC), bmi and Caucasus Travel Ltd. It is intended to break the stereotype of Georgia as being a dangerous ‘war-zone’ and promote, as well as revive, tourism in the country. Georgia Today is the media partner of the project, and presents an interview with the Director and Founder of BGCC, Mako Abashidze. Georgia Today: Who took the initiative of the project?
Mako Abashidze: We believe that Georgia always was and will be a very special and attractive country for tourists and that the tourism industry is a very important and significant source of income for the country.
The project was planned around six months ago, as a collaboration between BGCC and bmi.
Because of the unfortunate events in August, the project was postponed but we are very happy to come back to Georgia now and promote it as a beautiful country together.
GT: On what basis were the visitors chosen?
MA: Ten Journalists and tour operators from UK will comprise the group.
We were trying to put together a working group with a practical goal: journalists to write articles about their views and experience after the tour, and tour operators to check which different places and attractions could be interesting for the tourists from Britain.
GT: What is the general idea about Georgia that they have prior to the visit and how will the project affect it?
MA: All participants are generally very positive about Georgia (actually, Georgia had really great support from UK media sources during the August war) but we strongly believe that after the trip they will be really touched. Hopefully the weather will give us a chance to have a nice tours.
GT: Do any of the visiting journalists plan to cover the visit in British media?
MA: That is a main goal, all journalists will be writing articles on their return.
GT: Was there any hesitation among the visitors about coming to the country which has recently witnessed war?
MA: There was no hesitation regarding the tour at all. We all are very excited and looking forward to visiting Georgia.
GT: Do you think that some of them will be interested in investing in Georgia or aiding tourism promotion here?
MA: All tour operators in fact already showed their interest by the fact that they are coming, and results and photos of this tour will be added to their list of destinations. That’s why I feel very optimistic.
GT: Why did you choose these exact locations for a visit?
MA: We had a great support from our host company, Caucasus Travel. They started their business in the early nineties and now are leading the market as a very reliable and professional company. We fully trust them and are in their hands. The whole tour was planned by Caucasus Travel and on the evening of October 8 we have been kindly invited to the Tsinandali Chateau opening.
All of the tour was supported by TBC bank, Tsinandali company, bmi and Caucasus Travel.
I would like to thank all of them for great support, without it in such short notice we would not be able to arrange this important Media Tour.
GT: Do you see this project as a step towards victory in the “Information War” against Russia?
MA: Definitely, with this project, a bunch of international projects will be promoting Georgia and that’s what we need. We are bringing real people from UK to show the real Georgia, it will have a very positive effect, we believe.
GT: Are any other activities planned for the tourism promotion in Georgia?
MA: I am sure this project will have a future development. All UK Travel companies will be interested in bringing tourists to Georgia. We believe Caucasus Travel is a perfect host for them. Tsinandali Chateau, with fantastic wine tasting facilities and a unique wine collection is a special place to visit. I am very excited myself, and will be taking part in every tour offered by Caucasus travel.