Mayer, Victoria

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  • Publication
    An Investigation into the Management of Natural Heritage Sites
    (2018-01-01) Mayer, Victoria
    UNESCO currently oversees the preservation of 209 Natural Heritage sites around the globe which have been selected based on their irreplaceability and their testament to nature’s astounding ecological diversity. It is the mission of the Natural Heritage Convention to preserve their beauty for future generations while making it universally accessible to present ones. In a time when the tourism industry is blossoming more than ever before, this double mission naturally poses the challenge of balancing the benefits and potential threats of increased tourism to Natural Heritage sites. This paper examines the regulations governing the operation of Natural Heritage properties and assesses relevant data on the efficiency of the Natural Heritage Programme as a whole. Realizing that more than three quarters of Natural Heritage sites struggle with problems relating to management, it is concluded that there are two major areas for improvement if it is the goal to increase the sites’ capacity in entertaining tourist visits and capturing their value without sacrificing the preservation of the sites in the process: standardization of management processes and controlled tourism development. The solutions suggested in this paper aim to incorporate the respective local communities into the future operation of Natural Heritage sites, promoting economic growth and development in otherwise often underdeveloped areas while allowing for nature’s beauty to be conserved for many generations to come.
  • Publication
    Enabling Sustainable Economic Growth in Developing Countries: Targeted Tourism Management in the Caucasus Region
    (2020-08-30) Mayer, Victoria
    Once declared the “number one economic reformer in the world” by the World Bank, Georgia has yet to live up to the great growth and modernization expectations established during the country’s rampant economic catch-up phase after the Revolution of Roses in 2003. With its rich cultural history, beautiful landscapes, and unparalleled centuries-old customs, Georgia is well set up to benefit from the globally growing tourism industry and has worked with international organizations to craft a comprehensive tourism strategy intended to create foreign interest in the tiny Caucasus nation to help it emerge from the massive shadow cast by its much larger and more prominent neighbor, Turkey. Providing an in-depth analysis of Georgia’s historical and current economic situation, its complicated relations to the Russian Federation, as well as a portrait of its demographic and cultural context as background, this paper takes note of a series of systematic challenges, including but not limited to, the disparity of average labor productivity levels across sectors and the associated imbalance between total employment and economic contribution of different industries, the lack of diversification in the targeted tourism base and the resultingly high sensitivity to regional political tensions, as well as an inequitable education system that fails to efficiently cater to both, individual and national interests. Further, this paper proposes a number of interconnectedly designed solutions to capitalize on the resulting not-yet realized economic potential, most prominently emphasizing the acquisition of new traveler interest through globally targeted marketing strategies relying on the value proposition associated with intangible cultural heritage, the restructuring of the national education system to integrate an international focal point across all school levels and to offer a separate track of vocational training as a foundation for careers in the tourism industry, as well as a modernized approach to data collection and analysis to more effectively extract relevant patterns from tourism flows and the management of heritage sites. It is hoped that the presented insights can assist Georgia to emerge on to a path of sustainable economic growth, in turn generating economic development for the local population and helping the country establish itself as a global player in the post-pandemic world’s tourism industry.