Tourism Revived amid Pandemic

AclassA Travelers, a well-known Israeli extreme and luxury travel company, organized a jeep tour in Oni and Lailash for Israelis, in accordance with all rules amid the pandemic. The tour was held within the framework of the Jewish Cultural Heritage Route, which is represented by the ‘Israeli House’ in Georgia.

25 Israelis took part in the tour, following the route created by Israeli House in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, and the Council of Europe's European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), within the framework of the Jewish Cultural Heritage Route, which includes the municipalities of Oni and Tsageri. It combines Lailash, the unique synagogue of Oni, and the Jewish Quarter, a monument dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust and the “Georgian Schindler” Sergey Metreveli, recently erected in the center of the city by Israeli House and the City Hall of Oni Municipality.

The participants of the jeep tour met the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah (celebrated on September 18) in the yard of the Oni Synagogue, after which they were received by the Acting Mayor of Oni Municipality, Davit Chikvaidze.

Itsik Moshe, Head of Israeli House, noted that cultural heritage is not just the past, “it is the greatest moral capital, without which it is difficult to build a future.”

The Israeli House in Georgia officially represents the Council of Europe-certified Jewish Cultural Heritage European Route, and is working to promote it.

This is a new direction, in which the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Culture of Georgia are involved, and there is great support from Israel. The monument to the victims of the Holocaust in Oni has already become a tourist attraction, and leading Israeli publications, including the Jerusalem Post, have responded to its opening as an important event. The opening ceremony of the monument was welcomed by one of the leaders of the ruling party, the Chairman of the Knesset Diaspora Committee, David Bitan. Former Vice Speaker of the Knesset and former head of the Friendship Group with Georgia Hilik Bar visited Tbilisi these days, noting he is happy with the opening of the Holocaust monument in Oni because he believes that his work as the head of the friendship group had been fruitful.

Moshe says the Jewish Cultural Heritage Route has become an integral part of public diplomacy and is a serious tool for promoting tourism.

It should be noted that the flow of tourists from Israel to Georgia has been growing for years. In 2019, the number of Israeli tourists exceeded 200 thousand. The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business is actively working to promote Georgia's tourism potential in Israel. At the initiative of the organization, a number of programs about Georgia have been prepared for Israeli television in recent years.

Levan Kharatishvili, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia, also responded to the Israeli Jeep tour.

"It is welcome that during the pandemic, with the support of the Ministry, Israeli House, as the governing body of the European Jewish Heritage Route in Georgia, continues to work actively to develop the cultural route and promote local tourism,” Kharatishvili said.

“As part of the European Jewish Heritage Route, a jeep tour was organized in the direction of Oni-Lailash by Israeli House. Guests from Israel took part in the tour, visiting the Jewish heritage sites in compliance with all established regulations.”

Despite the delays caused by the coronavirus, Grigol Mikeladze, a member of the Georgian Parliament's Friendship Group with the Knesset of Israel, also welcomed the arrival of the first tourist stream from Israel and the tour of the Jewish cultural heritage. He highlighted that this is a serious incentive for the Georgian tourism sector.

About AclassA Travelers

The Israeli company AclassA Travelers has been working on the development of extreme tourism in Georgia for two years.

This type of tourism is focused on the category of tourists looking for new adventure destinations (mountains, lakes, canyons) and fun in different parts of the world. For them, Georgia, with its unique nature and mountains, is a novelty on the map of world extreme tourism. Traditionally, the main users of extreme tours are financially wealthy people.

The company imported special vehicles for extreme tours from Israel. Company head Asaf Artsi became interested in Georgia at the Georgia-Israel Business Forum held in Tbilisi by the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business.

The company owns extreme jeeps, rally cars, helicopters and other special equipment. It has already invested more than $1 million and can serve several dozen tourists at once.

The Israeli company develops several leading types of extreme tourism in Georgia, including jeep tours, mountaineering, diving, parachuting, paragliding, mountain biking, and hunting.

24 September 2020 16:56