The FINANCIAL -- After a 30-year break Georgia’s Kokhta-Mitarbi mountain resort, located in East Georgia just four kilometres away from the country’s iconic Bakuriani winter resort, is starting a new life.
Developing Georgia’s Bakuriani and Mitarbi winter wonderlands into four-season mountain resorts is the focus of a GEL 100 million development project, which is being implemented by the local company New Mitarbi. This is one of the largest investments in the revival of mountain tourism in Georgia.
The Government of Georgia and “Georgian Reconstruction and Development Company” signed a Cooperation Memorandum in 2015 which foresees development of the adjacent territory to Kokhta Gora (Kokhta Mountain) in Bakuriani and in Mitarbi and supports further promotion of mountain tourism and resorts.
The first stage of construction of the hotels and the complex of residential apartments has been commenced and is in progress in the territory adjacent to Kokhta Gora. The first phase will be concluded by the end of 2017. Herewith, construction of new hotels, residential-type apartments, cottages, public and entertainment facilities, and new ski tracks are all scheduled.
The reason for developing the area is to cater to the needs of growing tourist numbers.
The four-season mountain resort concept will offer tourists different attractions at all times of the year.
“Georgian and French architects teamed up and worked together to design the territory development plan, which includes development of road infrastructure and green zones. This was the initial stage of the resort’s development. For us it is very important to keep the nature and trees in place and construct less buildings in the area,” said the Director of the company New Mitarbi, Zurab Charbadze.
New ski lifts have already been installed at Mitarbi allowing holidaymakers, tourists and visitors to travel 2,300m above sea level. Additionally, new hotels, hotel-style apartments, cottages, as well as restaurant and entertainment facilities catering for up to 500 units will be built in the nearby area.
“Our purpose is to develop a new, modern and healthy lifestyle for families, recreational zones and a brand new resort in a unique location, for all four seasons,” Charbadze said.
Q. What can Kokhta-Mitarbi resort offer visitors today? At what stage is the development process?
A. The project’s development is in a very active phase and by the end of this year construction of the first block of residential apartments will be completed.
According to the project, first the Kokhta mountain area will be developed and Mitarbi will be the second step.
As for spending holidays in Kokhta-Mitarbi, people have been invited to visit the area since December 2015. They are able to use the new ski lifts, while the hotels and apartments will open their doors in 2018.
The first phase of the resort’s development includes construction of 500 apartments and a 100-room hotel. As for Mitarbi’s development, our company owns 280,000 sq.m of territory for which we are creating a master plan that includes a ‘green village’ concept.
Also, we have already negotiated with famous Georgian hotel network “Rooms Hotels” to be our project partner and operate a new hotel at Kokhta Mountain. We will be formalising the deal in the nearest future.
Q. How is the road infrastructure developing at the resort?
A. Developing the road infrastructure is one of the most important parts of the project. It is clear that it makes no sense to build a high-standard resort without proper road infrastructure, not allowing visitors to reach the area.
At this stage we are projecting the roads together with the state and the actual works will start in the summer. Construction of the roads is due to be completed by December 2017.
Kokhta-Mitarbi resort, which is surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful nature, will ultimately be one of the most beautiful resorts in the world.
Q. What are the expectations of the benefits for local citizens? How many people will be employed within the project?
A. It is pleasing that Georgia will have a resort and complex of international standards, which will increase the touristic potential of the country as well as increase economic activities in the region. It is absolutely clear that a project of this size will create long-term and guaranteed job opportunities. Demand for local employees already exists, which will increase dynamically and make a good fundament for the prosperity of locals.
Q. The company New Mitarbi is striving to support the concept of a healthy lifestyle. Can you tell us the specific activities which will promote a healthy lifestyle?
A. Having a healthy lifestyle is very important and we are very proud to be contributing to creating an ecologically clean environment.
Throughout the four seasons we are planning different sports events and activities. These activities will include ski competitions, cycle racing, children’s activities and children’s game zones.
The Kokhta-Mitarbi area is not the only territory where we try to protect nature. Our company also contributed to restoring a burnt forest near central Georgia’s resort town Borjomi, where 260 hectares of forest got burnt down in August 2008.
We joined the campaign ‘Aghadgine’ [‘restore’ in English] and planted trees in the forest.
We are striving to become the leading green company in Georgia and plan corresponding activities for the future.
We can definitely say that the environment is one of the main priorities of our company. Introducing a plan of regulations for development serves as encouragement for creating a concept, based on keeping and protecting the local nature; which will create resort development standards. Our strategy is to keep the already-existing trees and plants and at the same time plant new trees, of which we already have successful experience.