Over 300 Thousand People Visited Georgia in January

The Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) recently announced that visitor growth in Georgia in January 2016, compared with the same period last year, is 4.4 percent. Income from tourism brings a significant contribution to the country’s economic development. Georgia is improving its services and making itself more and more attractive to new countries – as a result a record number of visitors (5.9 million) was fixed in 2015.

According to a study by the GNTA, in January 2016 most visitors came to Georgia from Azerbaijan (+16%), Turkey (-5.6%), Armenia (-12.4%), Russia (+10.2%) and Ukraine (+8.6%). Tourist flow from EU countries also increased by 11 percent with most visitors coming from France, Italy, Great Britain, Poland and Germany.

The GNTA noted that the positive trend in visitor growth has continued following the success of 2015. As the beginning of last year was not so productive, the Administration had to take drastic measures to change the situation.

“The severe economic and political situation in the region affected opportunities for tourists and their desire to travel, so the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 were not very successful. However, we adopted a new strategy, and as a result witnessed a 7 percent increase in visitor flow at the end of 2015,” said Giorgi Chogovadze, Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration.

During the last year, the country was actively working on marketing campaigns; offering potential visitors the variety of tourist opportunities of Georgia, improved services, as well as focusing on the important international events held in the country. Furthermore, Chogovadze said that the government chose a new target group of countries in the Persian Gulf: “We can already see growing interest from the area this year,” Chogovadze said.

The number of tourists significantly increased from Oman by 887 percent, United Arab Emirates by 706 percent, Saudi Arabia by 181 percent as well as from Philippines by 482 percent and India by 307 percent.

“We see potential in the countries of the Persian Gulf and the figures for January confirm this. We will continue to work in this direction in 2016. In addition, we will focus on visitors from the US and India, as well as on those from Iran, but it all depends on the visa policy to be established between the two countries,” said Chogovadze. He also added that China is a good target country to focus on for attracting new tourists to Georgia.

Income from international tourism is an important part of the Georgian economy. According to estimates for the first three quarters of 2015, revenue has increased by more than 8 percent and amounted to USD 1,508,227 compared with the same period of 2014. “After the publication of the fourth quarter results, we will be able to speak accurately about the success of the last season,” said Chogovadze.

Eka Karsaulidze

04 February 2016 21:17