With the start of a new spring season it may finally be safe to say: ”Let the hiking season begin!”.
National Hiking Federation that consists of multiple types of members, hiking clubs and individual members gathers them all to celebrate season opening. As organization’s basic goal is to promote hiking in Georgia, annual event can be attended by anyone who’s willing to get outside, learn more about new routes, connect with other hikers and learn more about having safe adventure in the nature. Kvtiso Turdiladze, President of National Hiking Federation shared more about improving hiking environment in Georgia:
You are launching hiking season on April 13 officially, what are the activities you offer to hikers, how will it be outstanding from previous events?
This season opening will be outstanding with its capacity. We are planning to camp in Racha, surrounding Shaoru Lake, we picked this location by its perspectives. We finished marking hiking trails last year, that’s why we think this region needs popularization. There will be lots of sport activities, gala concert participated by modern Georgian musicians, fireworks be a closure of the event.
How actively is National Tourism Administration involved and how important it is qualified organizations to exist for tourism development?
The Project is financially supported by National Tourism Administration. This organization is the most successful structure in Georgia. Number of tourists practically double annually, that’s contributed by the Tourism Administration.
What are your plans after opening season, do you plan to develop one of the directions in particular?
We are hundred percent switching to two basic projects after opening season. These are: increasing involvement of young region residents in regional clubs and school children project. We started to introduce hiking at schools along with Ministry of Education. Project covers several following years and we are expecting a really good result. Traditional excursions will replaced by healthy hiking.
Last year, a record number of foreign visitors was stated, did it reflect on National Hiking Federation’s tours or tourists prefer to find a way by themselves?
Even though hiking clubs of Federation are oriented on domestic tourism, we guide a lot of foreign visitors and this number increases.
What tips would you give amateurs hikers, locals, as well as foreigners?
Even though hiking is the best way to find an adventure and we feel absolute freedom in nature, it still has its rules that needs to be obeyed to stay safe. We need to get an adventure, not trouble. I would advise them to join planned tours of hiking clubs to get experience.
What are popular destinations and besides that, what are new routes that you’ll offer?
We received Georgian standard of marking tracks last year. It was very important. We worked on it during 3 years with National Tourism Administration and other organizations. It’s our orientation marking hiking routes and exploiting them in a right way.