Analyzing Tourism Influence on Agricultural Products’ Market: A Case Study of the Mestia Municipality, Georgia
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Mestia Municipality is a high mountain district of north-west Georgia, is located in the Greater Caucasus Mountain range. On the one hand, tourism is relatively new and rapidly growing economic activity in Mestia, but on the other, traditional economic activity of the population is agriculture. Analyzing linkages between tourism and agriculture is a vital part of sustainable development process of the municipality. The purpose of this paper is exploring and analyzing links between of tourism and changed/diversified agricultural market in Mestia municipality. The paper applies a triangulation method – qualitative in-depth interviews and desk research. MAXQDA is used for data processing. In-depth interviews were conducted with two targeted group: 1) Representatives of local community-driven economic activities; 2) Representatives of the tourism industry who operate in Mestia municipality. In total, 59 interviews were collected. The fieldwork revealed three main tendencies: 1) Tourism has impact on agricultural product’s market in Mestia municipality. Agricultural products were sold mainly outside municipality before developing tourism. Now, tourism has created a great chance to realize productions inside region.2) With the development of tourism, agricultural cultivated lands are decreasing in Mestia. 3) Rural tourism is emerging in the villages of Mestia Municipality.