AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS; PROPOSED MAPPING FOR WINE TOURISM IN GEORGIA
Keywords:Decentralization, regional development, rural tourism, sustainable agriculture
The research paper discusses the growing importance of rural tourism and community based development as a means of sustainable regional development. Growing number of international visitors in Georgia, as well as high agriculture dependence of local population, requires the Government to have a clear long-term strategic vision for tourism and rural development policies. Understanding of the local community role in the sustainable tourism development will enhance the decentralization processes. Experience of developed countries like Italy and German, Check republic, New Zealand, etc. shows that in the wake of the emergence of rural tourism, many countries changed and harmonized policies that reflected modification in national regulations and development strategies. The Georgia’s favorable climate and soil have historically shaped agriculture one of its most productive economic sectors. Nevertheless, nowadays the sector does not provide favorable economic benefits to the local population. As a promising component, research paper identifies rural tourism as a central stimulator for agriculture sector adding strength to a traditional poor rural economy. Analysis of various existing policy initiatives in Georgia shows urgent need for harmonization of policy documents and local community involvement.