The Tbilisi city government’s takeover of management decisions for three popular resort towns is raising questions about whether Georgia’s promotion of tourism comes at the expense of self-government.
Under amendments to Georgia’s law on investment, passed on April 19, the central government granted control over the ski resort towns of Gudauri and Bakuriani and the mountain spa of Borjomi -- some of Georgia’s best-known tourist attractions -- to the city government of Tbilisi.
Consequently, the towns’ own governments will lose the power to oversee road and construction work, tourism development and other traditional responsibilities. None of the towns are in Tbilisi’s immediate vicinity.
Gudauri, a booming ski resort 110 kilometers north of Tbilisi, was the first resort to be placed under the Tbilisi city government’s supervision.
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Molly Corso is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.