Issue 5, 2015. October-November



A two-year development project in Georgia's western, mountainous region of Svaneti is paving the way for the government-built Tetnuldi resort to receive thousands of tourists all year round.

Lika JorJoliani

The Georgian government, together with assistance from France, is unveiling a new ski resort in Georgia's western Svaneti district.
The resort, Tetnuldi, is a multi-phase project; the first stage is slated to open in December.

4,500 Hectares of Skiing

Once completed, the new resort will include the longest and largest vertical drop ski run in the country (9.6 km and 1.7 km respectfully) and five ropeways - three of which are scheduled to open in the first stage of the development.

The total resort area is huge - 7,000 hectares - with 4,500 hectares planned for skiing.

French expertise

The development, which is projected to cost the Georgian government 40 million lari ($16.7 million) and the French government 18 million euros ($20.1 million), aims to create a mountain resort that will attract visitors all year round, noted Uka Kiladze, the director of Tetnuldi Development Company.

French specialists are tackling major safety issues, particularly the issue of designing the resort with sufficient snowfall in mind, and preparing for avalanche hazards along the slopes.

There are also plans to help villages prepare for tourists by providing vouchers for hotels and year-round activities like horseback riding, hiking and parachuting, Kiladze said.

"In the winter period, tourism to Mestia is actually stopped, and the village of Mulakhi lacks the necessary infrastructure to attract tourists," he said, noting that work on guest houses is underway in both Mestia and Mulakhi now although it is unlikely there will be "active development of a network of hotels" this year.

"By next year, a high rate of development is expected," he said.

Kiladze added that last year, Mestia alone added 200 rooms for guests. "A special commission has been created in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, which is actively working on the next plan of development for the resort," he said.