Visitors of the Algeti National Park located relatively close to Tbilisi get an unforgettable experience once they explore the Adventure Rope Park, established there in 2019 under the EU-funded ENPARD program. Nino Tikishvili, Executive Director of the Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG), says the region definitely needed financing for implementing innovative projects that would help attract tourists.
“Tourism was in a serious crisis in Tetritskaro at that time. The region lacked both infrastructure and space to attract or surprise tourists. We considered the rope park idea amazing from the very beginning – it was an innovative and timely project,” she says.
There are other rope parks in several regions of Georgia, but the one in Algeti is distinguished by its scale, diversity and most favorable location in the middle of the recreation zone and close to the capital city, making it even more attractive for tourists.
According to Avtandil Mchedlidze, Algeti National Park Director, various interesting ideas were developed at that time to strengthen local tourism potential, popularize the Algeti National Park, increase the visitors flow, create new jobs and thus promote income generation opportunities for the town and the national park, but finally everyone approved the rope park idea:
“I liked the idea very much and I knew that it would definitely help us achieve our goals. At that time the Tetritskaro LAG announced an EU-supported grants competition. We applied with the project idea and were later requested to detail the income-generating potential of the project for the small town of Manglisi – how many visitors we would host, how we would comply with safety standards, etc. Finally, the project was approved by the Tetritskaro LAG Evaluation Committee and we received the grant.”
Since its launch on August 1, 2019, the project, approved and funded by the Tetritskaro LAG, has brought financial benefits both to the Algeti National Park and the local community. Attraction visitors need food facilities, overnight stays and transportation. Many wish to explore horse-riding and hiking paths and locals actively provide the services to them, thus contributing to ecotourism development and benefiting from the park operation.
It is noteworthy that the town of Manglisi has great touristic potential, as the rope park visitors can enjoy other interesting services, offered by locals. This creates opportunities for economic development of the region and as a result, more young people are willing to return to their hometown.
According to Avtandil Mchedlidze, currently work is underway to standardize the hiking paths and to arrange camping, picnic and cottage areas in the Algeti National Park. They also plan to open an outdoor cafe in the park administration’s yard. All these initiatives draw on the success of the Adventure Rope Park project that has demonstrated that such projects attract more visitors thus creating opportunities for sustainable development of the park and increasing income of locals.
Mchedlidze noted that the Adventure Rope Park has both entertaining and educational functions. When taking the rope trails, all visitors need to observe safety rules, so they are briefed about these upon arrival. Instructors explain how to overcome obstacles and what rules to follow while being on the attraction. All the rules and actions aim at ensuring visitor safety.
According to the Tetritskaro LAG, funding of such initiatives is directly linked with economic growth and development of the region, while the Adventure Rope Park has become an example of how a successful project can contribute to success of other initiatives or people.