The FINANCIAL — More than 100 adventure lovers will take part in Vardzia Extreme Race organized by Georgian Tourism Association (GTA) on 5th of June, this year. “With Vardzia Extreme race, we want to promote healthy lifestyle and the region popularity”, Mamuka Burduli, one of the organizers says.
“We want to promote different sites of Georgia where people can have great fun and some rest. We want to assure people that rafting or mountain cycling is much more interesting than sitting in the restaurants,” Burduli says.
Georgian Tourism Association (GTA) is holding the race for the second time this year.
“GTA was created in 2005. Aim of the association is to promote different regions of Georgia, create a healthy touristic environment in Georgia and help a healthy lifestyle,” George Ebanoidze, The Project Coordinator of Vardzia Extreme Race says.
Vardzia is an isolated mountain valley, home to a 12th century cave monastery. In the ninth century, it was destroyed by an earthquake and ruined by invading armies. "During the Soviet era, Georgia was the number one tourist attraction for almost all the Soviet Union," said Nika Gilauri, the prime minister of Georgia, in an interview with CNN. "Today, we are getting back this title for the region."
Rakeen, an Emirati real estate development company is planning to invest up to 20 million dollars in Vardzia resort complex. "The main attraction is the caves, the cave city. Moreover, we will have a service package like hunting, rafting, camping and stuff like that," says Bendukidze.
GTA has already 36 member companies and organizations making first steps in promoting Vardzia’s adventure tours.
“We want to have 16 groups which will participate in this extreme race, but it’s also possible to add some extra groups if demanded. fEach group will be composed of 6 persons, out of them, 3 are running and are taking part in mountain biking competition and for the end, altogether they will try winning rafting,” Ebanoidze told The FINANCIAL.
Accordingly to the Race organizers, the winner will be named by the best time index. The time will be added up in total. First place winner will receive a GEL 3 000 voucher, the second place will be awarded with GEL 2 000 coupon and the 3rd place owner will receive a GEL 1000 voucher.
“We are supported by the department of Tourism and Resorts of Georgia, which is our main partner. It allocated quite a serious amount of money for the tournament. Aspindza municipality is also very helpful, they will probably be represented by their own local team. Georgian National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection is our partner too” Ebanoidze says.
“Our Sponsors are Geoland, Magelani sportswear shop, ABC Group (Agro Business Consulting) and brewery Natakhtari. Media Partners are Rustavi 2, Fortuna+, Auto Radio, radio partner and newspaper The FINANCIAL. One of the insurance companies will as well be added to our partners’ list as we want our participants to have health insured as they have to overcome quite hard distances this year,” Ebanoidze said.
Accordingly to Ebanoidze, this year they have more representative groups from foreign companies operating in Georgia.
“At the final stage of the event there will be a rafting race from Vardzia to Tbilisi, where rafting specialists group will take part. The tournament will be held on 5th of June. Awarding ceremony will take place on 6th of June. We are waiting special guests from Department of Tourism and Resorts of Georgia, National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection and local municipality representatives,” Ebanoidze explains.
“Vardzia region is very good for running, holding rafting and mountain cycling. This year rafting and cycling roads will be much longer and harder. Vardzia is very attractive not only for Georgians but for many foreign visitors too,” Mamuka Burduli, One of the organizers of Vardzia Extreme Race says.
“Last year we left bicycles and boats there and held some trainings for locals. We want to encourage local people to have same service packets which they will offer to tourists in Vardzia”, Burduli says.
Accordingly to Burduli, the race will be much interesting because last year only 4-5 groups were well trained and ready for the tournament but this year, the number of trained people is much bigger. About 13-14 groups will be better trained.
“They are already aware of the hardness of the race. Some of the groups have specially been training and getting ready for the tournament for already 2 months. So this year the race will be more competitive, exciting and interesting,” Burduli says.
“Guests may take part in beer drinking and arm-wrestling tournament,” Burduli says.
“There are even cases where groups of people with 15-16 members are united and they have qualification training between themselves. The best representatives, 6 from these groups are chosen to participate in Vardzia race. We have quite solid prizes this year, which will raise the quality of the tournament and people will be more motivated to win and have a well prepared group,” Soso Mekvevrishvili, One of the Organizers of the Extreme Race says.