Marshall Center Professor Lectures at Three Universities in Georgia

Reviving the tourist industry in the Caucasus

From Hostility to Hospitality

April 2011, Number 02.02

“In October 2010, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, with newspaper and television reporters in tow, stripped off his shirt and plunged into the Black Sea for a 3-kilometer swim. The goal of Saakashvili’s stunt was the economic revival of the Georgian coast surrounding the town of Batumi, a popular Soviet-era vacation spot hungry for a resumption of euro and dollar tourism. In between such feats of endurance, Saakashvili also praised the semi-neglected ski industry in the country’s mountainous interior.

“For dozens of years we have been explaining to the Europeans that Georgia can be Switzerland of Caucasus. There is nowhere in the world with such a combination of sea and ski resorts — that’s not an exaggeration,” the president told the news site Georgia Today in 2010. “So instead of us becoming Switzerland of Caucasus, let Switzerland now become Europe’s Georgia. … Let others compare themselves to us; but for now, Georgia needs a lot of work and a lot of investments.”

For two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, political and economic instability had chased away most of the tourists...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “From Hostility to Hospitality,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 2, No. 2, 2011: 46-49.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.