Georgian farmers milking money from tourism

Dairy farmers in Georgia are turning out as tourism providers to enhance profits after their original business has seen a fall in viability over the years.

Georgia has more than 250 dairy farms, with dairy farming supporting the economy with inputs of about $250m. However, as operating costs have increased because of rising gas prices and higher feed costs for animals, farmers are exploring methods to convert their strengths into more money, through alternate means.

Stiff competition in the market is also forcing farmers to seek better methods to generate increased profits. High costs of milking and maintenance and low productivity are also forcing farmers to look at alternate means to raise capital. Once agri-farming was adopted as a viable economic activity, farmers also started seeing it as a viable method to educate the local population about the benefits of going local with regard to farm produces and products. It has also served to enhance the dairy farmers’ original business with tourism serving to popularise the dairy business.

In an interview published by WBJF’s News Channel 6, a farmer who has tasted success with agri-tourism, said, ‘More and more farmers are turning to agri-tourism to get in money. It’s a way to help educate the public. Here at Steed’s Dairy Farm, that’s exactly what they’ve set up. They have a corn maze, you can go hay rides, visit a petting zoo. It’s a way to help farmers in a tough economy. This is our third year with agri tourism. I wasn’t used to people but now I enjoy it.’

New Radisson Blu Resort Tsinandali to Open in Georgia

A new Radisson Blu Resort is scheduled to open in Tsinandali, Georgia, in 2014, according to an announcement by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, a hotel group formed by US-based Carlson and Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group.

The Radisson Blu Resort, Tsinandali, will feature 100 rooms and is part of the Tsinandali estate. It will be developed by Silk Road Group, a Switzerland based company.

George Ramishvili, the Silk Road Group company chairman, said, ‘We are happy that Rezidor partners with us to build an exclusive spa resort in Tsinandali. We will offer visitors a luxury experience of Georgia’s stunning nature, generous hospitality and its rich heritage of winemaking.’

The new hotel will include 100 rooms, a specialty restaurant, a lounge, cigar and pool bars, an original wine cellar, and extensive spa facilities including treatment rooms, a gym, a relaxation area, and an infinity swimming pool.

Kurt Ritter, the company president and chief executive officer for Rezidor, said, ‘We are delighted to add a rare vintage to our growing collection of contemporary resorts.’

19th century vineyards and gardens bound the Radisson Blu Resort, Tsinandali, and the Tsinandali estate includes two museums, one dedicated to the poet Prince Alexander Chavchavdze, and the second dedicated to Georgian wine and gastronomy. The estate is of historical significance, and is said to be a sought-after venue for corporate events, conferences, cultural programmes, and weddings.

The new hotel will be the third Radisson Blu property in Georgia, after the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi.