home 2018, Europe, Events Tbilisi, Georgia Hosts European Ecotourism Conference (2018)

Tbilisi, Georgia Hosts European Ecotourism Conference (2018)

Photo: Beniamin Netan

The 5th European Ecotourism Conference wraps up in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event took place September 10-14, 2018 and we are adding links/recapping the event on this page.  Hashtag: #EuroEco18

The main objective of this conference is to provide a venue and meeting place for stakeholders – researchers, academicians, practitioners – to present their research results and development activities on ecotourism.

Planeta.com is an official media partner and issues a challenge for participants and is curating a Twitter moment.

Key Links
Conference Program
Facebook: European Ecotourism Conference
Twitter: ?

Marcus Bauer

Google Docs
Where to share

Planeta.com Participation
Planeta.com has been an official media partner of the European Ecotourism Conference since the first event in 2010. We are keen on learning and sharing what is on the European Ecotourism roadmap.

We will be updating the Upgrade Your World presentation made at the first European Ecotourism Conference and the social web explainers with live video workshops before, during and after the conference via FacebookLive and YouTube. Look for place-based updates as we revise the guides to Tbilisi  and Georgia.


  • To the organizers and participants – Will the conference have live and recorded video?
  • Is there a directory of participants? Bonus points for a directory with bios and social web links
  • How can remote participants and superfans of Europe and travel interact with the conference?
  • As a media partner, how can Planeta.com assist?
  • (For Locals)  – What would locals like visitors to know about their corner of Europe? Paint a picture of the kind of tourism you would like to see.
  • Are any of the related publications and online resources focusing on European Ecotourism open access? Bonus points for OER.
  • What is the difference between ecotourism and sustainable tourism?
  • When is the next European Ecotourism Conference?

Planeta.com Challenge
Planeta.com’s curated coverage is as good as what others post that we can like, embed, fave and retweet about. We would like to help amplify the lessons learned and lived at the event. If you are attending the conference, bonus points if you can take and share photos and videos of information tables, neighborhood rambles, and corridor chats. If you are not attending but interested, make your own fan art and be generous with the shares, retweets and likes from participants at the event. Everyone, please use the hashtag: #euroeco18

Specific requests
Flickr – We love to see two kinds of imagery and both preferably with a Creative Commons attribution-sharealike license. Please post graphics, posters, fan art. Please post photos from the event and travel to and from the conference.

Facebook – Interact with the official event page. If you would like posts to be shared on other websites, make sure they are embeddable.

Instagram – We love to see two kinds of imagery. Please post graphics, posters, fan art. Please post photos from the event and travel to and from the conference.

Twitter – Live tweeting from the event is encouraged. See the Flickr and Instagram requests for the kinds of imagery we love to see.

Comments on Planeta.com – Please let us know there is something to add or correct on this site, comments are welcome.

Live and recorded video. Bonus points if you are able to stream events, presentations.

Conference Venue
The conference will be held at Ilia State University. The university was chosen for its renewable energy supply in several buildings, recycling system for whole university and well-integrated sustainability policies.

Food will be only from local farmers, seasonal and authentic dishes. We will ensure that no food will be unnecessarily packaged. The cutlery and plates used will be non-disposable and will be reused.


Pärnu, Estonia • September 26-30, 2010
Brasov, Romania • October 23-25, 2013
Jachranka , Poland • April 26-29, 2015
Safranbolu, Turkey • April 17-19, 2017
Tbilisi, Georgia • September 10-14, 2018

Twitter Moment


Tim Burford

10th September 2018
9:00 – 10:00 Registration
Registration Desks at the main entrance
Opening session B 201
Opening session – Welcome speeches from Officials
Moderators: Aivar Ruukel, European Ecotourism Network; Natalia Bakhtadze-Englaender, Georgian Ecotourism Association. Giorgi Chogovadze. Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA)
Tamar Khakhishvili Agency of Protected Areas in Georgia (APA)
Nino Maghradze Tbilisi City Hall
Giorgi Kadagidze. Dean of the Business School of Ilia State University.
Ilia Okromelidze. Executive Director of the Georgian Ecotourism Association
Session 1. A 101
Main Topic: Ecotourism as a Tool for Community Development in Destinations.
Key Subjects: Ecotourism as an Instrument for Poverty Reduction and its Role in the Circular Economy.
Ecotourism Destinations – Protected Areas for Economic Development.
Session Moderators: Marta Mills, Sustainable Tourism Expert; Nata Robitashvili, Georgian Ecotourism Association.
Community-based Ecotourism, Supporting Local People and their Economies. Dominika Zareba (Keynote Speaker), Environmental Partnership Association / Partnership Fund, Poland
Ecotourism destination Network in Romania, from Concepts to Economic Development. Andrei Blumer – President Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER).
Coffee Break
Integrated Slow, Green and Healthy Tourism Strategies (INSIGHTS). Vivien Vati, CEEweb for Biodiversity and Michael Meyer, Ecological Tourism for Europe (ETE).
Ecotourism in the Context of the Circular Economy and in Line with SDG 1 and 12 of UN Agenda 2030: Indicators for Measurement and Monitoring. Dr Cinzia De Marzo, Lawyer, Specialized in European Union Law and Sustainable Tourism Expert
Exploring Soomaa: the Multifunctional and Marginalized Land. Saara Mildeberg, Student in Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu – Estonia
The Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET): A Regional Approach to Developing, Managing, and Promoting Ecotourism in Protected Areas, Pascal Abdallah. IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. – Skype Presentation
Protected Areas in Georgia: A common Source and Benefit for All. George Giacomini, Executive Director, Caucasus Nature Fund; David Morrison, CEO Morrison Ventures.
How to Transfer Sustainable and Ecotourism Practices from Protected Areas to Non-protected Areas – Mr. Pekka Alhojärvi: Chair of Silvacultura Ltd. and Ecoconsult Network; Member in Ecotrans Network; Repre- sentative of Green Destinations Scheme in Finland – Skype Presentation
Ecotourism as a Social Innovation: Lessons from Turkey. Assoc. Prof. Nuray Turker. Safranbolu Faculty of Tourism, Karabük University, Safranbolu-Karabuk, Turkey Prof. Faruk Alaeddinoglu. Faculty of Arts and Literature, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey
The Role of Protected Areas Towards the Economic Development of Tourism in Georgia.Prof Marina Metreveli, Georgian Technical University, Faculty of Business Technology; Maka Aphkhazava, PhD Canndidate, – Georgian Technical University, Faculty of Business Technology, PhD Candidate.
Community Activities Day “Let’s Do It! Estonia”. Peep Tobreluts.
Session 2. Room Ligamus
Main Topic: Standards and Business Development in Ecotourism Key Subjects: Ecotourism Business Models – Successful Examples;
Eco Labeling for Sustainable Tourism
Session Moderators: Michael Meyer, Founder ETE; Natalia Bakhtadze Engländer, Georgian Ecotourism Association
11:00 Sustainable Tourism Certification in Europe to Create Synergies Amongst Tourism Businesses, Destinations and Operators. – Gordon Sillence /Herbert Hamele. Founder and Chair of ECOTRANS. – Joint Skype Presentation
12:30 Family Travel as a New Way to Reach Sustainability. Lela Giorgadze, Sustainable Tourism Business
Association – STBA.
13:00 The Potential of Green Tourism for Sustainable Economic Development. Johannes Strittmatter, Private
Sector Development and Technical Vocational Education and Training South Caucasus Deputy Programme Director
13:30 Ecotourism vs. Car Tourism in Mountainous Regions of Georgia – Theodor Jonas Board Member Caucasus Nature Fund
14:00 Lunch
15:00 Ecotourism as successful business model. Glenn Jampol –Chairman of Global Ecotourism Network
15:30 Best Practices of Georgia – “Living Roots”; – Ia Tabagari – Director of Company and Chairwomen of Georgian Incoming Tour operator Association
European Ecotourism Network Common Approach Towards Sustainable Tourism
10-12 September 2018
Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
Chavchavadze 32, Ilia State University
“Natures Best Sweden – Opportunities, Challenges and Lessons Learned in Quality Assurance of Ecotourism” – Jeppe Klockareson Representative of the Swedish Ecotourism Society.
16:00 Ecotourism Development in Georgia Success Stories and Challenges – Ilia State University
Giorgi Rajebashvili Lecturer at
16:30 Assesment of Inköy’s Ecotourism Resources Prof. Faruk Alaeddinoglu Faculty of Arts and Literature, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey
Destination Management, from Monitoring to Wise Decisions. Study Case Romania. Bogdan Papuc, Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER)
European Ecotourism Network Common Approach Towards Sustainable Tourism
11th September
Session 1. A 405
Main Topic: Ecotourism in the Digital Century – Digital Storytelling, Virtual Travel Itineraries. Session Moderators: Maia Sidamonidze, Head of Tourism Center at Ilia State University
10:00 What is the ROI of Effective Storytelling and Communication. Rob Holmes (Key Note Speaker) 11:00 “UK Consumer Attitudes to Sustainable Tourism” – Vicky Smith
11:30 Online Communication Tools in Digital Story Telling – Sandro Asatiani
12:00 Coffee Break
12:30 Interpretation as an Important Component of Ecotourism. Dr. Valeria Klitsounova, Chair of the Board, Belarusian Association for Rural and Ecotourism. “Country Escape”; Belarusian State University, International Tourism Department
13:00 Maja Campelj, Tourist Guides – Key Accelerators of Local Development, Responsible Tourism and Circular Economy. CEO and Tourist Guide Trainer at G-Guides School for Tourist Guides
13:30 From the Unna Tjerusj Sami Community in Gällivare. Owner of the Company Sápmi Nature – Lennart Pittja Owner of Sápmi Nature
14:00 Departure for Lunch in Rachis Ubani
Session 2. A 408
Main Topic: Ecotourism in the Education of Future Tourism Managers Session Moderators: Nata Robitashvili, Georgian Ecotourism Association
10:00 Ecotourism in Academic Tourism Education: How to Connect two Worlds. Marcus Bauer M. A. htw Saar, Saarland Business School
11:00 Ecotourism in Academic Studies in Georgia – Nata Robitashvili, Natalia Bakhtadze Engländer Ilia Okromelidze – Georgian Ecotourism Association
12:00 Coffee break
14:30 Departure for Lunch to Rachis Ubani
Side Event – Eco Label Session Moderated by Natalia Bakhtadze Engländer. Joint Event of Georgian Ecotourism Association and Sustainable Tourism Business Association
10-12 September 2018
Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
Chavchavadze 32, Ilia State University
Session 3. Room Ligamus
Main Topic: Transboundary Trails and Cooperation’s in Ecotourism – Eco-corridors Session Moderators: Marta Mills, Sustainable Tourism Expert
10:00 Lessons Learnt: Planning, Realisation and Viability of Cross-Border Trails – Kirsi Hyvaerinen (Key Note Speaker),
10:30 Alex Crevar – Western Balkans’ Via Dinarica Trail — The How and Why of Authentic Adventure Tourism Development and Promotion. Alex Crevar Travel Journalist and Editor, Working with National Geographic, Lonely Planet, New York Times.
11:00 A Successful Tool for Sustainable Tourism Development Theme: Transboundary Trails and Cooperation’s in Ecotourism – Eco-corridors Dominika Zareba, Elena Vetrova – Expert in Greenwazs and Sustainable Tourism, Belorussian Association of Rural and Ecotourism ”Countrz Escape”
11:30 Supporting Ecotourism Development in and around Protected Areas in the Southern Caucasus – Servi Naburus, Lali Tevzadze Transboundary, Joint Secretariat for Southern Caucasus
12:00 Coffee break
14:30 Departure for Lunch to Rachis Ubani
Workshop. Room Ligamus
Main Topic: Teaming with National Geographic for a Travel Writing Workshop Series
12:30-14:00 Workshop will be Implemented by Alex Crevar.
16:00 Presentation of Ecotourism Trail – Mtatsminda – Turtle lake
Price: FREE
Date: 11 September Route duration: 3 hours Route length: 3.9 km
The route was selected to study diversity of ecosystems, forest steppes, their density and approximate reserve, natural and artificial forest massives, growth class processes in various ecosystems, as well as to get informa- tion about dynamics of forest ecosystems. The route begins at north-west bank of Turtle Lake, directed to west, after a small ascent goes on the crown of the Turtle Lake hill across the forest on the ground road. From this point, the Lake and its vicinity are well visible. After that the route descents to “Nightingale Grove”, crosses Varaziskhevi and goes over to Mtatsminda Park across Mamadaviti hill. Here, going through pine and cedar plants, the route ends at main motorway of Mtatsminda, from where one can see some splendid views of the city.

Trail was marked in the frame work of the project “Sustainable forest management in Georgia”, financed by Austrian Development Cooperation and implemented by Caucasus Environmental NGO Network and Georgian Ecotourism Association.

European Ecotourism Network Common Approach Towards Sustainable Tourism
12th September
Room B 201 – and Institute of Botanic
10:00 Ecotourism 2030: From Competition to Collaboration. – Gordon Sillence
10:30 Global Ecotourism Network – Glenn Jampol, Global Ecotourism Network
11:00 Asian Ecotourism network – Masaru Takayma, Asian Ecoturism Network
11:30 Overview Towards Ecotourism in Europe – Aivar Ruukel, European Ecotourism Network 12:00 Coffee break
12:30 European Ecotourism Network: Paving the Way – Aivar Ruukel/Kirs Hyvaerinen /Vicky Smith
13:30 Depart with Busses to Botanical Garden
14:00 Presentation of Concept of Transboundary Trail and Georgian Lavish Table in Botanical Garden

Botanical Gardens – Circular Economy – Community Tourism – Digital Responsibility – Digital Storytelling – Ecotourism – Facebook – Family Travel – Google Maps – Interpretation – Mountains – Partnerships – Sustainability – Transboundary – Twitter – Wine

Caucasus – Estonia – Mediterranean – Sweden

Elsewhere on the Web

Friday, September 7 FacebookLive
Join us for the first of several attempts of live video.



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