“Georgian Ecotourism Association” is a non-profit legal entity registered in 2012 with the mission to promote ecotourism, as key element of sustainable tourism development and raise awareness of Georgian population with regard to this issue; rational usage of a variety of ecosystems in Georgia, agriculture and cultural heritage, as tourism resources.
Association is improving establishment of Eco label and ecotourism standards step by step, especially in the tourism product development. Quality development is in permanent negotiation with academic and research institutions, key tourism stakeholders and government. The streamline of the organization’s activity is to develop tourism from the grassroots level towards top level.
Development of new ecotourism products is based on principles of environment protection and aims to get economic benefits for the local community, so this is the reason of long-term community development work in particular regions of Georgia. Cluster development in small and middle size geographical areas including main components such as attraction inventory, evaluation and community involvement plan, and nature and culture interpretation belongs to the main methodology of site management plans.
GEA is membership based organization, which considers each actor tourism business as beneficiary, so its activity and collaboration is based on long term approach. Main beneficiaries and key stakeholders of association are existed and potential members of association, small scale tourism enterprises, and local non – profit organizations, actors of tourism business based in rural area, small scaled tour –operator with main target on FIT – business and tourist groups. Each product created by the association serves to support, economic growth and increasing diversity of production of tourism business actors. In addition, organization made less known tourist attractions more popular on both local and international levels. The organization actively collaborates with the international ecotourism community and ecotourism associations of different countries, also promotes eco-tourism in society, especially in youth and implements educational projects collaborating with various educational organizations under the memorandum.
The main objectives of the association are:
- Lobbying Ecological Tourism at the State Level and in the Society;
- Promotion of Ecological Tourism as a safe tourism direction for the environment;
- Facilitating to lobby Sustainable Tourism Development Legislation;
- Local community involvement in environmental protection, natural and cultural;
- Facilitating the development of ecotourism products focused on environmental protection and cultural heritage in order to improve socio-economic level of local population;
- Research of Georgian Ecotourism potential, description of inventory and promotion on both national and international levels;
- Development of regional trans boundary ecotourism network;
- Implementing educational projects and rising ecological awareness for different age categories;
- Permanent consulting support on sustainable tourism direction for local communities in different regions of Georgia;
- Establishment of ecotourism standards;
- Supporting the network development of protected areas in Georgia;
- Supporting sustainable development of agro farms by development of agro and eco-tourism.
- Strategies and Product Development – Research, analysis, development strategy, development of new products by modern technologies, support to local communities to develop ecotourism product or tourism services;
- Research and Education – Implementing educational projects and rising ecological awareness for different age categories within the country;
- Membership Direction – The main objective of this direction is to create network of tourism service providers around Georgia and certification the members.
- Public Relations – The main purpose of this direction is to maintain and develop the prestige and partnership with research institutes, governmental, nongovernmental, donor and other organizations at the local and international levels