Revitalizing Georgia's Tourism: A New Law for a More Sustainable Future"
The USAID has set its sights on bolstering Georgia's tourism sector with a novel law. This undertaking, according to Natalia Beruashvili, the head of USAID's economic governance program, will introduce critical measures to regulate high-risk tourism, all the while shaping an economically advantageous path for the country.
"Estimating the implications of this law and reform on Georgia's private sector and overall economy is our current focus," stated Beruashvili on the "Business Partner" program. She offered valuable insights into the ongoing reform in the country's tourism sector.
Beruashvili explained that the program involves an in-depth cost-effectiveness analysis. Preliminary findings indicate that the reform could potentially stimulate an economic benefit of approximately 3 billion GEL over the next decade.
The tourism reform in question has several strategic objectives. Foremost is the post-pandemic revival of the tourism sector. Second, there is an emphasis on accelerating the process of European integration in the tourism sphere. The new law aims to harmonize with European directives, contributing to this objective. Lastly, it seeks to encourage increased participation from the private sector.
"The tourism sector is incredibly diverse and vast," Beruashvili noted. "Hence, forging a close alliance with the private sector was paramount. Post-pandemic, we saw the formation of a tourism alliance. We have also gleaned insights from best practices, which will be integrated into the new law."
When probed about the tangible outcomes expected from the law, Beruashvili stressed the primary goal of the tourism reform - safeguarding consumer rights and curbing risks related to high-risk tourism.
"The new law delineates specific prerequisites to regulate high-risk tourism. This move will engender increased trust in the sector," she elaborated. "The exact regulatory model will be determined later. In addition, the law will necessitate the registration of tourism facilities in the public register, and introduce voluntary certification for guides to enhance service quality."
The law is expected to usher in a novel approach, adding a layer of transparency to the sector and boosting consumer protection.
The draft law is currently under review, guided by the parliament's sectoral economy and economic policy committee. This committee is consulting with both executive authorities and the private sector, and it is anticipated that the tourism bill will be proposed in the imminent future.
In collaboration with the reformer, the USAID economic governance program is taking the lead in revamping Georgia's tourism sector. The advent of the new tourism law is set to redefine the relationship between guests and hosts in Georgia, aligning it with modern norms and standards.