Posted: 8 months ago

Tourism Industry Evolution Necessitates Regulation, Says Nino Chokheli of The USAID Economic Governance Program

As the tourism industry experiences growth and evolution, regulatory measures become indispensable, stated Nino Chokheli, Deputy Head of The USAID Economic Governance Program Program, during her recent appearance on the show "Business Partner in Rush Hour".

Chokheli highlighted the urgent need to identify strategic priorities for the sector's further development. She explained that it's essential to define which markets and segments the country should target and the type of tourists it should aim to attract.

One of the most pressing priorities for the advancement of tourism, she noted, was attracting high-spending tourists. However, Chokheli warned that unless the country ensures basic tourist rights and upholds high safety and quality of life standards, it could prove challenging to lure in these desired tourists.

"A significant amount of work has been undertaken with the backing of USAID's Economic Governance Program. We have conducted studies of international practices and assessed the impact of regulations. Only after this comprehensive analysis were we able to reach a consensus on the fundamental issues that need regulatory oversight," Chokheli elaborated.

She further clarified that the current stage introduces basic regulations pertaining to life and health. Other services, such as guide services, would remain voluntary but could seek certification if they so choose.

As work progresses on the proposed bill, Chokheli assured that all norms and regulations have been thoroughly understood and considered. This is crucial as any norm or issue included in the law is accompanied by a carefully planned implementation mechanism.

It is worth noting that with the assistance of the USAID Economic Governance Program and the reformer, a reformation of the tourism sector is underway. A draft law on tourism is being developed, which, once passed, will redefine the host-guest relationship within Georgia's tourism industry in a regulatory context.