The city of Batumi on Georgia's Black Sea coast is bracing for a tourism boom after winning the 2019 title of "Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination" at the prestigious World Travel Awards.
In recent years, the region has attracted significant investment. And the results are clearly visible.
The summer season has just begun but already tourist figures are breaking records. Dozens of new hotels have appeared along the coast and the number of international visitors in Batumi has almost doubled since the beginning of this year.
It’s also gaining a reputation as a centre of youth culture.
Joseph, a young street-artist, believes his city has much more to offer.
He’s confident that soon Batumi will be a focal point for creative youth and compete on an equal footing with the capital, Tbilisi.
“You can see how the city has changed on a cultural level - cinema, theatre, music, poetry, architecture, art etc," he told Focus. "Batumi is in a constant state of development and we are able to create new trends in the cultural life of the city.”
In Georgia new cultural trends are closely intertwined with the country’s rich traditions and history.
It’s no surprise that Georgian polyphonic singing was recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Add to this the region’s beautiful and diverse landscapes and you get a fuller picture of Adjara and its tourism potential.
You can head straight from the beach to the mountains and picturesque valleys. It's all possible in Adjara, thanks to its unique ecosystem.
Tornike Rijvadze, Chairman of the Government of Adjara, told Focus: "Ecotourism is actually one of the greatest opportunities we’ve got here. Our agencies work very hard to find new directions. We expect to have quite a successful season this year.”
The region is also famous for its wine. According to archaeologists, winemaking in Georgia can be traced back thousands of years.
Local winemaker Rostom Beridze, said there are almost 500 types of grape varieties in Georgia and about 50 of them grow in Adjara.
"Such diversity gives us an advantage in creating wines that are very different from what you can find elsewhere," he said.
Beridze added: "It’s impossible to talk about wine and not be in a positive mood. We are very proud of our winemaking heritage.”