BBC Russian: Georgia to Become More Popular Among Russian Tourists

The number of Russians who want to spend a vacation in Georgia is growing, the Russian service of the BBC reports.

Based on official statistics journalist Nina Akhmeteli has reported that the number of Russian tourists in Georgia has broken records this year and has reached nearly half a million, which is 12 percent higher than last year.

According to the National Administration of Tourism, Russia ranks fourth in the number of visitors to Georgia, after Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

After the 2008 war, Georgian tour operators noted the popularity of Georgia among Russian holidaymakers had decreased significantly due to publications in the Russian media, where the country was not portrayed in the best light.

However, today despite the fact that problems in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi remain, Georgia in the Russian socio-political media is hardly mentioned, while social networks are full of positive impressions of Russians who have visited the country, the author of the article noted.

“Relations between the countries are bad and it's no secret. But maybe it is even better when you get more than you were expecting. When tourists come, they see that local people, when they find out that you are from Russia great you with a bright smile and talk very kindly to you. In other words the fear is still there but it’s shattered from the very first days of staying in Georgia,” the Head of travel company My Georgia Egor Pavlov told to BBC Russian.

The Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Maia Lomidze said to the BBC that, “due to the fall of the Russian currency, the ruble, this year in the outbound segment of tourism in the Russian market, demand has fallen in almost all directions, but Georgia is at the top of former Soviet countries by the number of visiting tourists from Russia.”

As Lomidze highlighted, “visa-free travel from Russia to Georgia, as well as the increase in the number of airlines operating in Georgia has had the positive influence of an increased number of tourists. Besides Tbilisi, Russian tourists are interested in seeing the various regions of Georgia.”

As Head of Georgia’s Tourism Administration Giorgi Chogovadze said to BBC Russian, “tourists are also attracted by wine tourism in Kakheti, the Black Sea coast and the mountain resorts of Georgia.”

Photo: BBC Russian Service

24 August 2015 15:00