1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism held in Georgia

Alaverdi Monastery, Kakheti Region, Georgia

Wine Tourism is one of the major elements of Gastronomy tourism, and in this sphere, Georgia has a strong advantage as a tourist destination. Georgia is renowned as the birthplace of wine; the country has the oldest unbroken tradition of wine-making in the world, stretching back over 8,000 years.

More than 500 varieties of grapes grow in the country and Georgian wines are renowned for their unique characteristics. Georgian traditional wine-making method called ‘Qvevri’ is practiced across the country nowadays and has been from the ancient times. ‘Ovevri’ is a large earthenware vessel, sealed and then buried in the ground for several months. The oldest ‘Qvevri’ found is believed to be from the 6th millennia BC and in 2013 ‘Qvevri’ wine-making method was added to UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage.

So, no wonder that the UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism was held in the Kakheti Region of Georgia, on September 7–9, the very first conference on wine tourism took place in the same destination where wine was born over 8,000 years ago. The event was of utmost important for the country, both in term of development of tourism and wine industries. The conference hosted over 200 delegates, including policy makers and tourism experts from nearly 50 countries, for 3 days in Georgia: visiting such major wine-related sites as the Alaverdi Monastery, Kvareli (Kakheti) and Chateau Mukhrani (village of mukhrani).

Ovevri

The event was a unique opportunity to discover the richness of local Georgian culture and to exchange innovative ideas to promote wine tourism between destinations already experienced in wine tourism with others with a high potential in that segment. Ministries, Destination Management Organizations (DMOS) and National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), universities, tour operators and wine professionals were among the participants, who had an opportunity to experience both traditional and European methods of wine-making practiced in Georgia.

“Wine tourism is intimately related to the identity of destinations and comprises cultural, economic and historical values. Furthermore, it constitutes a major driver in diversification strategies helping destinations to enrich the touristic offer and to attract different publics. This Conference tries not only to emphasize these but also to promote exchanges and to build cooperation among destinations with a potential in this field,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the Conference.

The opportunity to host the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism has once again placed Georgia in the hearts of the world’s wine experts, professionals, and enthusiasts.

See article: The Financial: Wine Tourism — a growing tourism segment

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