Participatory policy review - "Supportive Tourism" concept for hand-in-hand rural and mountain development

An optional description of the image for screen readers. Photo - Guesthouse’ advertisement by Temur Gugushvili


This article is an attempt to provide an exhaustive review of governmental policy documents for rural and mountain development in Georgia in the context of the local tourism supply chain (LTSC). Mainly, we examine to what extent policy-makers recognize the im-portance of the interconnectedness between tourism and other economic sectors. The study employs a systematic literature review and participatory workshops with local stakeholders to avoid observing the issue from a single angle. The analysis of strategic documents shows that tourism is considered vital for mountain and rural settlements’ economic welfare, in fact, the narrow sense of its capabili-ties hinder the full effect on allied economic sectors. More precisely, strategies mostly consider tourism’s impact on [mountain, rural] communities in terms of its direct consequences such as new constructions in accommodation and catering units, ski trails, etc. This study provides recommendations, which could facilitate improvements in the integration of farming and non-farming activities into the tourism sector. Based on the research, acknowledging the increasing dependency on such a sensitive economic branch as tourism, we suggest the new tourism advancement concept under the title of “supportive tourism”. The paper suggests understanding and utilizing tourism as (i) starting point for other local economic actors; (ii) motto to increase demand for local services and products; (iii) support-ive platform for the local economy to enter into new markets. Ultimately, supportive tourism could result in weakening dependence of local economic activities on the local tourism supply chain.

Annals of Agrarian Science