A training on agritourism development took place at the end of April at Château Mukhrani in Georgia, supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with funding from EU under the EU4Business initiative.
More than 20 representatives from micro businesses learned how to use opportunities created by raising visitor flow to the country and to Mukhrani in particular.
Along with exceptional wine and food, Mukhrani hosts the history of Georgian Royal Family and the remains of an ancient Roman city – the largest one in the country.
The EBRD has initiated a training programme to support the agritourism sector in Georgia, with Mukhrani selected as a Pilot Area for the project. The EBRD have appointed Tourism Development International (TDI) to undertake this project.
TDI conducted a telephone survey with representatives of the Mukhrani community in December 2017. The survey identified strong interest in tourism with many respondents interested in starting their own agritourism business. Accommodation features strongly in the agritourism activities respondents were interested in, but Mukhrani citizens are also interested in capitalising on their strong food traditions by selling agricultural produce to visitors and running restaurants offering traditional Georgian dishes.
The main challenges facing potential beneficiaries wishing to work in tourism are lack of experience of the tourism sector, allied to lack of information.
An overwhelming majority of respondents would like to receive training in how to run a tourism business operation. The survey identified specific business topics where training is needed, including sales and marketing, finance and funding, and customer care. There is also a strong desire for training on food safety and standards.