On November 16-17, 2013, a two-day familiarization tour of the rural tourism network of Biological Farming Association Elkana in Samtskhe was organized for beneficiaries of the project “Development of Ecotourism in the Javakheti National Park Support Zone”. The tour participants got acquainted with the rural tourism network in Samtskhe and met network members who shared their own experience in rural tourism with them. The participants learnt about rural tourism, key factors and conditions for its development, importance of traditional farming, tourist products and their development, got acquainted with the local agro-tourism infrastructure and services, visited local guesthouses, horse rental point, traditional handicraft making women’s centers, met local guides and learnt about their work, gained knowledge on how to plan and organize interesting and diverse tours in rural areas.
As a result of the tour, the project beneficiaries have a clear understanding of the rural tourism, agro-tourism services and infrastructure, as well as the importance of local traditions, farming and tourist products for development of rural tourism. They are motivated to participate and be involved in the development of tourism and tourism infrastructure in the Javakheti Protected Areas, to make use of the obtained knowledge and experience in their activities, to cooperate with the people involved in tourism and to gain essential knowledge and experience.
The project “Development of Ecotourism in the Javakheti National Park Support Zone” has been implemented by the Biological Farming Association Elkana since May 2013. The project aims to support development of ecotourism in the Javakheti National Park support zone villages (Patara Khanchali, Epremovka, Zhdanovo, Sameba, Dadeshi, Sulda, Miasnikiani, Filipovka, Bozali, Kartsakhi), and it is part of the Javakheti National Park Establishment project which is funded by the German Government through the Reconstruction Credit Bank KfW and is implemented by WWF in cooperation with the Agency of Protected Areas of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia.