I have mentioned before that one of the things I love about Georgia is the country’s general willingness to try new things and follow through on crazy ideas , but, but, but the recent New York Times article on the new city of Lazika raises some of the major problems that this can also cause. There is such a thing as a project that is just too rushed. I’m not opposed to the development of new cities on the Black Sea Coast–they’re potentially a great way to increase tourism in Georgia and bring some revenue into the country–but in building a city there’s a bit of background research that needs to be done first, and the criticisms of the Lazika project are totally reasonable. How will the city stand in a swamp? Who’s going to live there? What will be the environmental impact? I love the can-do attitude in Georgia, but I think it’s important to keep some realism about what you reasonably can do, and adjust plans accordingly.
I’m particularly interested in the Lazika issue because I got to visit the (now) resort
town of Anaklia as part of some research on the Georgian tourism industry in Summer 2010. Now, I hear, Anaklia is a lovely resort. At the time, there was one mostly-completed hotel, one half-built hotel, and cows on the beach. At the time, I was really impressed with Anaklia’s potential; it really seemed like an ideal resort: beautiful and relaxing. I suspect, though, that part of what I loved about Anaklia was the solitude. Now that it’s developed, I imagine the feel of the town (well, last time I was there it was truly a village) is quite different.