Purpose of Domestic Visits in Georgia – an Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted tourism all over the world. In the event of closed borders and close to zero international visitors, it was hoped that as people could not go abroad for holidays, domestic tourism would expand and partially compensate for the lost international visitors. In Georgia, this hope was more prominent, as the country entered the holiday season (July-September, which also coincides with the third quarter of the year) with a favorable epidemiological situation for traveling. However, based on the National Statistics Office of Georgia's domestic visitor survey, the number of visits in Q3 of 2020 has decreased by 5.6% compared to the corresponding period of 2019. Nevertheless, even if the domestic tourism failed to compensate for lost international tourism, 2020 Q3 still produced impressive numbers, especially when considering major adverse factors such as fear of traveling due to the pandemic, and the outbreaks in 2 popular tourist destinations, Mestia and Batumi during the holiday season. Moreover, Q3 of 2020 registered a decline in the number of visits only because of a strong performance in Q3 of 2019. In fact, Q3 of 2020 was the best performing year in terms of domestic visits apart from 2019 in the past 5 years.

Looking at domestic visitors by the purpose of their visits, "visiting friends/relatives" has proved to be a dominating category, with at least 45% of total visits attributed to it in the Q3 of the years 2016-2019. However, when compared to the same period of 2019, in Q3 of 2020 the number of visits in this category declined the most, both relatively (-19.8%) and in terms of volume (-373 thousand visits). As a result, the share of this category in total visits declined by 6 percentage points, from 45% in 2019 to 39% in 2020. People likely were the most cautious about traveling to their friends and relatives, and this cautious behavior could explain a large part of the decline. The same logic can be applied to the category "holiday, leisure and recreation", however, with lower magnitude: The number of visits in this category decreased by 13.1% and its share in total visits decreased by 2 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. Contrarily, "visiting another house (cottage, etc.)", which is arguably the least likely category to provoke travel fears, saw a huge growth in the number of visits, increasing by 45.4% in 2020 compared to 2019, and increasing its share from 12% in 2019 to 18% in 2020.

The region in which the number of visits declined the most in Q3 of 2020 compared to Q3 of 2019 is the most popular seaside destination, Adjara (-22.4%), and the expenditure category which has declined the most is "holiday, leisure, recreation, cultural and sporting activities" (-25%).

Hotel Price Index

In November 2020, in Georgia the hotel price index1 decreased by 5.8% compared to October 2020. The 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotel price index decreased by 6.9%, while for guesthouses, the price index decreased by 7.8%.

In November 2020, compared to November 2019, hotel prices in Georgia decreased by 5.2%. The prices of 3*, 4*, 5* hotels decreased by 8.8%, while the prices of guesthouses decreased by 2.6%.

Average Hotel Prices

In Georgia, the average cost of a room2 in a 3-star hotel was 113 GEL per night in November 2020, while the average cost of a room in a 4-star hotel in Georgia was 176 GEL per night and the average cost of a room in a guesthouse3 was 67 GEL per night.

The average cost of a room in a 5-star hotel in Georgia in November 2020 was 350 GEL per night. In Tbilisi, the average price was 415 GEL, followed by Kakheti - 397 GEL, Samtskhe-Javakheti - 390 GEL and Guria – 387 GEL.

24 December 2020 19:41