USAID-Backed Video Wins World Tourism Organization Contest

December 15, 2021

A video produced by the Georgian National Tourism Administration with support from the DAI-led USAID Economic Security Program has been named the best video in Europe in the “Tourism in the Decade of Action” category and one of the five best in the world by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.

Mariam Kvrivishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, recognized the importance of this award in creating visibility for Georgia at a crucial time and thanked “our friends at the USAID Economic Security Program for their continued support.”

“This is the first time Georgia has received such an honor and it ensures that this video will be streamed around the world,” said program Chief of Party Mark McCord.

The UNWTO video competition honors examples of how member countries are linking their promotional videos either directly or indirectly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through references to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Grand Tour of Samegrelo.

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to Georgia’s tourism sector, which is vital to the livelihoods of more than 150,000 people around the country. In 2020, the number of international arrivals declined by nearly 80 percent from the previous two-year average. The silver lining is that Georgia’s tourism industry continues to demonstrate tremendous untapped potential, not only to return to its pre-pandemic height but also to grow into a more sustainable and internationally competitive driver of inclusive economic growth. To help Georgia capitalize on this potential, USAID, through the Economic Security Program, is partnering with the private sector to build a more modern and commercially sustainable tourism sector. Specifically, that includes working hand-in-hand with private sector partners who can bring reach, innovation, and digital technologies to upgrading and promoting Georgia’s tourism sector.

Creating the winning video—titled “The Grand Tour of Samegrelo,” along with other videos such as “Georgia Through the Ages: Samtskhe Javaketi”—is part of the program’s comprehensive strategy to assist Georgia in recalibrating its tourism model to focus on lower-volume, higher-value tourism. The strategy is already producing results: tourism revenue grew by more than $220 million in the period from June-September 2021 compared to the same period last year.

The program worked with destination management organizations in target regions to develop tourism routes that link primary and secondary attractions and yield a superior overall tourism experience. DAI’s team oversaw the linking of attractions, developed and priced multi-day itineraries for each region, and provided this information to the destination management organizations, tour operators, and the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

In addition to the winning video of Samegrelo, produced by partner Magnet Films, each region has its own video, which will be released in spring 2022.

Georgia Through the Ages: Samtskhe Javaketi.

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