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Basic subject of Georgian Speleologists Union activities is planning and mapping of the routes for tourist objects using geo-informational systems, marking, passportization, creation of three dimensional models and tourist maps for the given regions, exploring underground world, holding scientific controlling – ecological works, supporting to the development of sport speleology, speleo and mountain tourism, also other branches of tourism; preparation of guides and rescuers. One of the key trends of the speleologists union activities is participation in the tourist guides and rescue actions in various extreme situations.

Georgian Speleologists Union (GSU) was founded in 1989. On November 28, 1999 the union was registered again.
One of the principal activities of our organization is mountain-speleogical-rescue operations. The members of the association took part in the rescue operations in Spitak (1988) and in Racha-Imereti (1989) after the earthquakes, during Tbilisi war (1991), in Pasanauri (1991) and Dariali-gorge (1995) after the disasters caused by snow avalanches, moving the refugees from Abkhazia to Codori-gorge (1993), in Turkey (1999) after the earthquake, during various auto and water accidents, searching for the lost tourists.

Our organization has long term relations with rescue services in various countries: the mountain-speleological rescue corps of Trentino region (Italy), Midi Pyrenean mountain-speleological corps (France), mountain-rescue service of Slovakia, mountain-rescue voluntary service of Poland, regional control and rescue service of Lvov region, Ukrainian ministry of emergency situations, non-governmental organization “Green cross” of Ukraine, mountain-rescue services of North Caucasian republics, etc.

The association carries out regular rescue-training sessions for the population in various parts of Georgia and different preventive actions for various kinds of catastrophes in risky regions.
The association actively co-operates with the Georgian department of emergency situations, taking part in various rescue operations GSU has implemented various types of projects for the period of its existence, namely:

  • In 1994 with grant received from foundation ISAR arranged educational-preventive expedition in Tskaltubo region cave system for the children and youth to reveal underground water pollution sites and elaborate method for prevention of this harmful process. A film has been made and was shown by the Georgian State Television.
  • With ISAR foundation grant in 1996 international expeditions (Italy-Georgia and France-Georgia) were held at Khvamli and Askhi arrays for the purpose to evaluate tourism potential of these areas. Results of the expeditions were published in European edition;
  • In 2001 Eurasia Foundation funded 2 projects: “Rescue –Guide service in tourism development” and “Information systems of south Caucasus rescue-guide services for increasing the safety of tourists”.
  • In 2002 with funding of WWF the following was accomplished: Borjomi-Kharagauli national park tourist rout planning, selection of the optimal variants of their accommodation, marking. Digital tourist contour map was created for park territory and routes and a three dimension model in GIS.

Since 1989 until now GSU has conducted many international research expeditions in Georgia as well as abroad, namely:

  • 1990-1991 expedition was held to investigate environment and cave spaces together with Ukrainian, Polish and Italian colleagues in Bziphi array.
  • In 1995 expedition was held at Khvamli cave arrays together with Italian and Spanish speleologists;
  • In 1996 expedition was held at Askhi array. Italian colleagues participated in the expedition.
  • 1998-2001 expeditions were held at Migaria array with French speleologists.
  • In 2000 expedition was held together with Italian researchers in Racha region.

Purpose of the above mentioned expeditions was to evaluate the possibility of development of various tourism trends in mentioned regions. Expedition materials are published in different editions.

During 1992-2002 GSU held several expeditions in the Pirriney mountain system territory, in 1999 in Alps.

Members of Georgian Speleologists Union attended mountain-rescue and speleo-rescue courses in Italy in 1997. In 1999 they attended canyoning  rescue courses in France. In 2002 they attended the rafting guide-rescue courses in Austria.

From 1989 until now GSU members participated in all rescue actions for liquidation of natural or technogenic catastrophe results in Georgia.

In 1999 GSU members participated in liquidation-rescue action of the results of the devastating earthquake in Turkey. For their effort they received the appreciation awards of local Turkish rescue service and the President of Georgia awarded them with the state awards (Order of Honor, Medals of honor).

In 2001-2003 GSU held two most complicated rescue-evacuation operation at Ushba peak. For the first time in Georgia evacuation operation was carried out at 4400m and 4200 m from the sea level using helicopters.

Now GSU works above performance of projects: Development of Tourism Infrastructure and a Visitor Management Plan for Kolkheti National Park – under the order of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Centre; Development of standards of tourist routes and creation of information centre “Tour-adviser” – under the order of Eurasia Foundation.

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