Inderscience Publishers

Developing religious tourism in emerging destinations: experiences from Mtskheta (Georgia)

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This paper explores the case of Georgia in Southwestern Asia as an emerging tourist destination and focuses on the potential of the ancient city of Mtskheta for developing religious heritage tourism. Classified as the City Museum Reserve of Mtshketa, the area is comprised of an ensemble of monuments that is protected under national law as a City-Museum since 1968 and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. A comprehensive assessment was undertaken during a visit to the site in 2009, during which desired outcomes were: to advance understanding of developing religious tourism while identifying opportunities and ideas for collaborative future action. The conclusions of the research suggest the need for a wider vision in the strategic development of the sector, including a closer focus on working closely with the community. Efforts are being pursued to carry out further research using alternative methods in cooperation with local Georgian partners.

Keywords: cultural resources, religious heritage, revitalisation, religious tourism, tourist experiences, Mtskheta, Georgia, religion

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