Methodological recommendations for forming and developing priority directions of Racha rural tourism

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Date
2020
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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Press
Abstract
The European Union countries consider rural tourism development as one of the most relevant economic growth alternatives in poor and depressed regions. This field of tourism consumes diverse resources in rural and surrounding areas, therefore, rural tourism can be implemented in various ways. As a fact, the regions, which are rich with tourism resources, get an opportunity to meet the customer needs better and at the same time, get economic efficiency by broadly utilizing the resources in the household turnover. As a result, agrotourism is attracting field for the country such as Georgia. The majority of the research papers dealing with the problematic issues in rural tourism is based on the concept, that development of rural tourism depends on natural resources. We agree with the consideration that tourism as a multidimensional and intersecting socio-economic phenomena is based on using various resources while the efficiency of using tourism resources is based on the factors which either create conditions for success or limit them. Nowadays, international tourism trends revealed that for the success of the countries with small economies, it is more crucial to use innovative management approaches optimally rather than the existence of tourism resources. Tourism research, as well as general regional economic study and ensuring the use of applied research direction, needs many-sided analysis of resources. For revealing the potential of the destination, the paper provides the forecast of rural tourism development based on the following algorithm: 1. Identification of customer needs in the following directions: motivations, priorities, determining the potential amount and structure of tourist flows, target segment; 2. Evaluating the resource potential of forming rural tourism product of the destination; 3. Organizational and legal field analysis; 4. Analysis of the fields of logistics and information provision. Customer research on different types of rural tourism varieties showed the demand for rural tourism directions in preferential order: a) recreational rural tourism; b) wine tourism; c) medical and wellness tourism; d) gastronomy tourism. In terms of regional scale, greater efficiency is met where territorial and functionally organized recreation areas are formed. As a result of historical analysis of the development models of agrotourism, the countries chosen are close to Georgia (Italy, Bulgaria) with their tourism resources and circumstances. For example, Italian model of rural tourism with its resource and context directions is similar to Racha’s tourism resource potential and demanded types of services. The abundance of natural sightseeings, the experience of producing good wines and the high quality traditional cuisine have an exceptional place in the “success formula” of Italian rural tourism. Even though wine and gastronomy tourism development have already achieved some level in Racha, the experience of Western Europe to establish thematic wine villages is not applied as yet. In terms of recreation tourism practice in Racha, Bulgarian model of rural tourism development also seems relevant, which provides a pleasant environment for a family vacation. This model corresponds to recreation resource potential of Racha, recreation tourism traditions and limited financial capacity. Bulgarian model is convenient for the regions, where living space is characterized with low level of comfort; however, the area is rich with natural and cultural-historical resources. This model is accepted as a pattern for “third wave” countries - the countries, which do not have sufficiently comfortable accommodation as frequently met in western Europe. Bulgarian model for high value recreational destination also include: construction of big and medium-size tourism units with specialized private hotels and other tourist services, which is relevant to Shaori reservoir, as well as recreation tourism development concepts for Shovi and Utsera territories. This model needs significant investments and working on special projects. Each discussed model needs a different types of government involvement on each level.
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Keywords
rural tourism, priority directions, destination formation methodology, organizational forms of agrotourism, models
Citation
Economics and Business, №1, 2020, pp. 161-179
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