Georgia: The Georgian Agency of Protected Areas revealed on Thursday, April 14, that the number of ecotourists visiting locations in Georgia had increased fourfold since 2012, reaching a high of 1,200,000 in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
The Agency stated that the areas under its authority resumed visitor reception in May of last year. The country hosted 600,000 visitors in the next five months of 2021, accounting for half of the total in the previous year’s record-breaking year.
Moreover, the Agency also went on to say that almost 40 ecotourism projects were executed in the country’s protected regions last year, with the inauguration of new ecotourism facilities and destinations, as well as the introduction and development of services taking place between 2012 and 2021.
In recent years, the following new ecotourism facilities have opened in Georgia are:
- Martvili Canyon which is located in the north-eastern part of western Georgia
- Okatse Canyon in the Khoni Municipality of the west of Imereti region
- Okatse waterfall in the Khoni Municipality of Imereti
- Tetra Cave in Imereti
- Navenakhevi Cave in the Terjola region of western Georgia
- Satsurblia Cave in the Tskaltubo Municipality in Georgia’s west
According to the Agency, 12 visitor centres have been built, eight ecotourism attractions have been established, and 39 trails have been arranged throughout the country.
Furthermore, as of 2021, a total of 82 hiking trails and five navigation routes are found in the nation’s protected areas, with a total length of approximately 1,800 km.
The Agency also reported that the size of protected areas has grown by about 300,000 hectares in the last ten years, reaching about 800,000 hectares in 2021, accounting for 11.5 per cent of the country’s total land area.