Go Barefoot recently announced a new sustainable tourism project in Armenia to protect the biodiversity of the Southern Caucasus… The ambitious project will be used as a model for similar initiatives across the Caucasus, in partnership with the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC). The two organisations have developed ecologically and culturally orientated experiences that highlight the region’s beauty, traditions, history, and challenges. The itineraries provide exclusive hiking and cycling access to protected areas to enjoy the region’s wonderful landscapes and rare wildlife. Armenia is home to an ancient and rich culture and the itineraries provide travellers with a range of off the beaten track opportunities such as visiting an artisan brandy factory, a national reforestation project, or meeting local filmmakers and artists.
The Caucasus is an area of huge ecological importance, as well as of great beauty. The region is included in the list of 34 world biodiversity hotspots. Go Barefoot’s project uses tourism as a tool to ensure both the conservation of the area’s biodiversity, including the Caucasian Leopard, and the ongoing development of a new eco-training centre for local community training. Local communities will be offered training and new working opportunities linked to tourism, hospitality, and conservation. Armenia is a member of the UN World Tourism Organisation’s Silk Road Programme, a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local communities while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route’s natural and cultural heritage.
James Scipioni, the founder of Go Barefoot, says that the company is ‘extremely excited to be developing a sustainable tourism model in such a bio-diverse and newly emerging destination’. Go Barefoot is a UK travel operator which develops tailor made travel experiences that support environmental and cultural preservation, and sustainable development. Their itineraries offer a genuine interaction with local cultures whilst gaining an understanding of social and environmental challenges and solutions. Tourism has been growing gradually in Armenia over the last decade, with investment in new hotels to boost the sector. These new itineraries offer travellers a unique and responsible way to experience authentic Armenia. For more information about the new hiking and cycling tours, visit http://www.gobarefoot.travel or click here.