The Caucasus region offers spectacular views and compelling activities for the would-be tourist, and GoCaucasus.today makes exploring this region easier than ever.
The website forms part of the Digital Caucasus project, initiated by CENN with the support of the Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth Project (EDGE).
With this backing, the GoCaucasus portal helps guide visitors to the region with a strong emphasis on supporting local infrastructure in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. This helps ensure both the protection and appreciation of the area’s stunning biodiversity as well as the support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Supporting the growth and digitalization of SMEs
One of the fundamental goals of the GoCaucasus portal is to provide digital exposure to businesses in the Caucasus region. David Lelashvili, a Regional Representative for the USAID EDGE project, observes the unfortunate reality that following the COVID-19 pandemic, “domestic and international activities, as well as the purchasing power of the customers in Georgia and other project countries, have significantly decreased.”
As has been the case all over the world, this has led to hard times for many businesses, but particularly SMEs. In response, Lelashvili points to “the massive acceleration of global e-commerce” as a way for the region to encourage both the development of digital skills and promote tourism in the area. To this end, the GoCaucasus website focuses on supporting this acceleration of e-commerce as a way to encourage tourism via the internet and help SMEs who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Happily for Nazy Dakishvili, owner of Nazy’s Guest House, one of the project beneficiaries from Georgia, the website has already provided a significant amount of business. She shared that it is “thanks to the power of online digital resources” such as the GoCaucasus portal that her business has improved by making it easily discoverable by potential tourists and easily reviewable for recent customers.
Taken together, the work of CENN and the GoCaucasus portal signify a profound investment in the region’s future, so much of which depends on developing tourism in a way that both boosts local economies and protects and highlights the area’s environmental treasures.
Promoting tourism in the Caucasus region
Indeed, tourism is of fundamental importance for the success of the Caucasus region and the improvement in the quality of life of its inhabitants. The region’s beautiful landscapes and the diversity of activities available to tourists can be broken down into the following categories: rural, adventurous, and green, although many of the categories overlap.
Spending a day in nature is proven to be beneficial for both physical and mental health, and the Caucasus region offers beautiful opportunities to immerse oneself into nature. For example, there are 27 beautiful national parks in the South Caucasus that allow for immersive nature getaways and an opportunity to appreciate this planet we all share. Tourists can explore the forests of Algeti National Park, the caves and canyons of Imereti, the Alesili Cliffs of Vashlovani National Park, or the mud volcanoes of Takhti-Tepha. There is truly a lifetime of natural beauty to be discovered in the Caucasus region.
Another lovely way to appreciate the rural side of the area is by birdwatching. Georgia itself has more than three hundred bird species! This includes endangered species such as the Caucasian black grouse and the Caucasian snowcock. There’s also the heaviest species of flying birds, the Dalmatian Pelicans, which breed at Lake Kartsakhi in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Whether amateur or expert birdwatchers, tourists are sure to be delighted by the region’s impressive biodiversity.
The Caucasus region is the perfect destination for thrill seekers and adventurers. There is truly a staggering number of exciting activities available to those who love to get outside and get their adrenaline flowing: river rafting, bungee jumping, paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, rugged hiking, skiing—the list goes on and on!
Tourists, for example, might visit Georgia in the winter months and delight in one of the many ski resorts, such as Gudauri, Bakuriani, or Mestia. In the spring or summer months, they might enjoy the adventure of river rafting, on 15km of mountainous rivers from Magharoskari to Tvalivi. Alternatively, they might enjoy paragliding as a way to take in the sumptuous mountain vistas of the region and access views that are otherwise quite difficult to see.
Green or eco-friendly tourism is becoming an increasingly popular choice as the world begins to recognize our impact on the planet and its inhabitants. The Caucasus region, with some 31.8% covered in protected areas, provides an array of ecotourism options that simultaneously help support local green businesses.
After visiting a national park, tourists can connect with local businesses to sample honeycomb with a professional beekeeper or embark on a wine tasting tour at one of the area’s many vineyards. They can also stay at any number of eco-friendly accommodations, such as Nazy’s Guest House, which sources most of its food through its own organic vegetable garden.
The GoCaucasus portal not only showcases the stunning natural beauty and a myriad of activities that the Caucasus region offers, but also helps would-be tourists connect quickly and easily with local, sustainable SMEs. This is a win-win situation that supports both local economies and the environment.
As a highly functional web portal with an outstanding search filter, GoCaucasus.today truly serves its mission to highlight “providers of tourist services across the Caucasus,” according to Ana Petriashvili, National Coordinator for the Digital Caucasus Project.
Indeed, everyone benefits as the GoCaucasus site helps local SMEs reach a global audience while simultaneously promoting rural, adventurous, and ecotourism activities that help ensure a prosperous future for both people and the planet.