The wanderlust of travelers is the driving force of tourism in any country. But one which has seen a dramatic influx of tourists is the historic and picturesque nation of Georgia.
Located at a strategic crossroad between Europe and Asia, Georgia has experienced some of the fastest growth in tourism in the world over the past decade. To meet the growing demand, the government has adopted an ambitious plan to host 11 million tourists by 2025, with annual revenues to reach more than USD 6 billion. While this is sure to have a positive impact on the economy, increasing employment and income for businesses, the carbon footprint of all this travel cannot be ignored.
That is what prompted Germane Chelidze, owner of the travel company SEA LLC, to make a change. “Our business was doing well, but we knew that we needed to be more sustainable. We wanted to purchase more modern, fuel-efficient tour buses but didn’t have the capital. That’s why we reached out to Bank of Georgia as they are known for providing green finance in the country.”
Bank of Georgia, a long-standing partner of the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), has demonstrated strong commitment to fostering green finance and clean economic growth. Fueled by GGF funding under the EU4Business Initiative, Bank of Georgia provided Chelidze with a loan of EUR 130,000 for the purchase of modern, double-story tour buses.
“With these new buses, we have seen a big decrease in the energy used,” states Chelidze proudly. Thanks to the investment, the business is not only saving money, but also making a positive environmental impact. The company now saves more than 30 MWh of energy and is reducing CO2 emissions by over 20 tons per year.
With tourists also becoming more conscious about the need for sustainability in the industry, the transition to more modern buses was well timed. In a world that is increasingly seeing the effects of climate change, every effort needs to be made to be more energy efficient – and Chelidze’s tour buses are a step in a green direction.
“Despite having no business due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are still optimistic about the future of tourism in the country – and we are ready to welcome tourists back to see the wondrous sites Georgia has to offer,” says Chelidze, smiling.
By working with likeminded partners to provide green finance to business owners like Chelidze, the GGF remains resolute in its mission of mitigating the effects of climate change whilst simultaneously promoting economic growth in the region.