Friday, November 13, 2015

Georgia's wine and tourism agencies briefed journalists on first UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism

13.11.2015 (Hvino News) Yesterday in Tbilisi the the heads of the National Tourism Administration and National Wine Agency - Giorgi Chogovadze and Giorgi Samanishvili - held a joint press conference regarding the first Global Conference on Wine Tourism, planned for 2016 in Georgia.

The wine conference will be held under the auspices of United Nations's World Tourism Organization - UNWTO.

As announced last moth at UNWTO event in London, the first UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism will be held in Georgia’s Kakheti wine region on September 7-9, 2016 (read more here). The activity is part of the UNWTO Gastronomy Network plan of action.

The representatives of Georgia's wine and tourism agencies briefed the journalists at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on the conference project details, and answered the questions.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Georgia to host UNWTO’s 1st Global Conference on Wine Tourism in 2016

05.11.2015 (Hvino News) Wine tourism is set to really take off next year after it was announced that the first UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism will be held in Georgia’s Kakheti wine region from Sept. 7-9, 2016.

The 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism was officially launched by UNWTO and the Georgian National Tourism Administration on the occasion of the World Travel Market in London. The activity is part of the UNWTO Gastronomy Network plan of action.

The UNWTO and the Georgian National Tourism Administration made the announcement at World Travel Market session. As explained by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, who led the presentation with the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, George Chogovadze, and the Georgian Ambassador to Spain, Zurab Pololikashvili, “Wine tourism represents a growing segment with immense opportunities to diversify demand. In the case of Georgia, this potential is well known as we are very pleased to be holding the first UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism in the country.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Indian visitations to Georgia register 81% growth during first nine months of 2015

03.11.2015 (Hvino News).Georgia Tourism holds first roadshow in India in partnership with Air Arabia.

There has been a commendable growth of 81% in Indian inbound to Georgia during the first nine of this year, compared to 3,792 Indian arrivals during the same period in 2014. According to Georgia National Tourism Administration (GNTA), they welcomed 6,869 Indian passport holders from January to September, 2015. Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor on the sidelines of the roadshow jointly organized by GNTA and Air Arabia, George Chogovadze, Head of Administration, GNTA, said that the Indian arrival figures have been encouraging since Air Arabia commenced operations to Tbilisi last year.

Chogovadze said that GNTA’s efforts are to create more awareness about the destination, especially the MICE potential of destinations like Tbilisi and Batumi. “We have hosted 18 travel writers from India to Georgia last year. We will continue to organize FAM trips for media and travel agents to make the tourism potential of Georgia known in India,” he said. Chogovadze said that Georgia is a small country, but diverse in terms of topography, climate, etc. “We have mountains, ski resorts, beaches, wildlife, etc.  Cultural tour is quite popular. Georgia is a cradle of wines with 8,000 years of wine heritage,” he said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

AXIS' tallest skyscrapers in Tiblisi to house Pullman Hotel

27.10.2015 (Hvino News). The Georgian Co-Investment Fund (GCF), a USD6 billion private equity fund based in Georgia, and Georgian construction company AXIS are to build Axis Towers, twin skyscrapers which, when complete, will be the tallest buildings in Tiblisi.

The glass tower will house a five-star Pullman hotel and will additionally feature an A-class business centre with 15,000 sq m of office space. Meanwhile, the stone tower will comprise of 15,000 sq m of residential property, featuring apartments with impressive views of Tbilisi. The tower will be equipped with all the necessary infrastructure to create the maximum comfort for its residents.

GCF will own 50 per cent of the completed development, while the other 50 per cent will be held by AXIS.

The multifunctional complex consists of two 147 metre tall, 41-storey towers, four floors of which will be underground. One tower will be glazed with dark glass, while the other will feature white stone cladding. The total buildable area of the towers equals 94,000 sq m.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sheraton Grand to be opened in Tbilisi

21.102015 (Hvino News). Sheraton Grand will be the news name of  te hotel located in Old Tbilisi. The hotel is under renovation currently.

George Gegechkori, director of Ras Al Khaimah Investment (RAKIA) said that presentation of the project will be held in November, while reconstruction of the hotel would be finished in autumn 2016. As he noted, exterior of the hotel will be merely renovated. Redesigning of the hotel is not envisaged by the project, in order not to drop out the building from the ensemble of the city.

Number of hotel rooms will be increased from 150 to 220. This will be the sole hotel with the innovative ball room in Tbilisi, which will be able to host the biggest events.

RAKIA Georgia is owned by Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi,  Sheikh of Ras Al Khaimah emirate, who also owns holds Tbilisi Mall.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Georgia in Lonely Planet's "Ten world’s most intriguing wine regions"

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). Travel guides publishing house Lonely Planet included Georgia in its recently published list "Ten of the world’s most intriguing wine regions".  Lonely Planet’s new book Wine Trails plots a course through 52 of the world’s greatest wine regions, with weekend-long itineraries in each designed by expert writers, including wine buyers and sommeliers.

"We’ve picked out 10 of the most intriguing regions to show why tasting wine in the place it was made can be a revelation", - reads the article posted by Lonely Planet. Georgia's Kakheti region is listed between Mendoza (Argentina) and Niagara (Canada):
Kakheti, Georgia
The Georgian wine experience is like no other. The story of wine here is so old, so real, that it can make what we know of ancient Greece and Rome seem like recent history. Georgia is widely recognised as the land where man first learned to tame the wild grapevine, around 6000BC. In most of the country, winemaking technology has changed little since then. Grapes are still harvested by hand, and foot-pressed in the hollowed-out trunks of ancient trees. The juice flows into underground clay amphoras, where it ferments and matures without additives or manipulation.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wine mapping project launched on Georgian Wine Day!

04.10.2015. Greetings to all friends of Georgian wine! To mark the Georgian Wine Day, today Hvino is starting our Georgian wine mapping project.

Hvino Map  is an experimental project, where users are mapping the important wine places of Georgia. Hvino Map is already fully usable. It will be updated every week, becoming richer and more comprehensive with time.  It can be used on any desktop or mobile devices, both Apple and Android. Direct link to map is here.

You are welcome to add a new object, such as winery, cellar, wine shop, hotel or other place useful for visitors. Users also may update and correct locations if necessary. If you want to edit the map, see instructions in the bottom. Also please report us about all problems or bugs, so we will fix them.

View current Hvino Map below...
... or click HERE for full size view 
  • To use on any mobile device, go to:
  • To edit the map, see instructions in the bottom.

How to edit Hvino Map:

To simplify editing and avoid errors, we use separate Google map for user's submissions. To add your object, use the map below and follow instructions:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Georgia earns $766m from international tourism

02.10.2015. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been injected into the Georgian economy through international tourism.

As the number of tourists to Georgia increased, the country experienced more benefits, said the National Tourism Administration.

Today the Administration published data stating international tourism revenue reached $460 million USD in the second quarter (Q2) of 2015, which was $30.4 million or seven percent more than in the same period of 2014.

In the first six months of the year Georgia earned $766.4 million USD directly from international tourism. This was almost three percent more year-on-year (y/y).

In the six-month period the value added to the tourism sector increased by 17.3 percent and reached 480 million GEL.

Between January and June 2015, tourists spent more than 300 million GEL on their foreign bank cards, which was an annual increase of more than 100 million GEL or 38 percent.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sharjah set to promote its tourism landmarks in Georgia, Russia, Armenia, and Kazakhstan

30.09.2015 (Hvino News) Following the successful participation in a promotional tour to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan in the Commonwealth of Independent States, organised earlier this month by the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced another series of road shows to Georgia, Russia, Armenia, and Kazakhstan from September 29 to October 2. During the tour, SCTDA will promote Sharjah's latest tourism developments under the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 that aims to attract 10 million tourists by 2021.

The delegation for the road show is headed by HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA, includes representatives from Air Arabia, Sharjah Airport travel agency (SATA), Copthorne Hotel Sharjah, Ramada Sharjah, Golden Tulip Hotel Apartments, and Khalidiya Travel & Tourism. A number of workshops and meetings will be organised with representatives and decision makers in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors in the cities of Almaty, Moscow, Yerevan and Tbilisi.

Commenting on the participation, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, said the promotional tours are part of the Authority's strategy to shed light on the diversity of Sharjah's tourism product in order to strengthen its position as a leading global tourist destination. The road shows will help attract a large number of tourists to Sharjah from key markets around the world, apart from the emerging markets that contribute to the huge tourist inflow to the emirate every year.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi: Five star facility “enclave” in Tbilisi

28.09.2015. A new lake and a fascinating waterfall is but a small list of some of the facilities that Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi will be constructing in its surrounding area soon. The management is focused on expanding its five star facilities outside of the Hotel’s walls and bringing a new experience to every Georgian, especially residents of the local district. With head offices in Paris and Shanghai the hotel is actively involved in promoting Georgia on foreign markets. Increasing the number of direct flights, as well as active participation in international exhibitions, are the key suggestions the hotel has for Georgian officials to raise awareness of Georgia abroad.

Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi is a five star hotel with a French touch located on the shorelines of the famous Tbilisi Sea. Just two months since opening, the Hotel has become a popular location not only for business meetings and conferences, but also for wedding receptions.

The Financial interviewed Petter Lillvik, General Manager at Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi. In his exclusive interview, Lillvik talked about the international experience that the company is bringing to the Georgian hospitality industry. He gave suggestions for how to raise the popularity of Georgia as a travel destination.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Visitor numbers on the rise in Georgia

27.09.2015. Georgian tourism is once again on the rise as the latest statistics show that the number of foreign visitors have increased.

About 4 million international arrivals were registered in Georgia in the last eight months, the Policy and Management Consultation Group (PMCG) Research Centre has announced.

According to data from the organisation, 3 922 376 people have crossed the Georgian border in the January - August 2015 period. This is an increase of 5.9% over the same period last year.

“The growing number of visitors (tourists, one-day visits and transit) to Georgia is important for the further development of the country’s tourism sector, as well as for increasing the inflow of foreign money,” the PMCG Research Centre emphasized in a statement.

During previous years the July – September periods has been the busiest in regards to tourism. A similar tendency was visible in 2015, as 40.5% of all international arrivals were registered in the July – August period, with September’s figures yet to be added. This figure is likely to mirror the pattern of previous years, the PMCG report concluded.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Number of Travelers Increased by 6% in 2015

07.09.2015. Georgia hosted 3,922,376 international visitors during the first eight months of 2015. The number is 219,699 (or 6%) more than the figure from the same period of the previous year. With a total of 944,029 visitors to Georgia, Armenians make up the majority of foreign travellers in Georgia. They are followed by Azerbaijanis, Turks and Russians.

According to the data of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, a total of 3,922,376 tourists visited Georgia during January-August of the current year. Of this, 1,573,888 spent 24 or more hours in the country, down from 1,576,091 from the previous year’s data. Additionally, 944,604 people came to Georgia as a transit stop this year. This was a 35 percent increase from the same time last year.

From January to August 2015 visitors from Georgia’s neighbouring countries continued to flock to Georgia on holiday. 944,029 Armenians visited Georgia this year, up from 825,344, or 14% more than the same period of the previous year. Azerbaijani tourist numbers rose by 8% and reached 932,054. Guests from Russia amounted to 642,755, up from 560,476, or 15% more. Turkey holds third place by number of visitors to Georgia. However, guest numbers from Turkey have dropped by 6% this year and totaled 926,755.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Le Méridien to debut in Batumi, Georgia

03.09.2015 (Hvino News) Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., in partnership with Red-Co Ltd, today announced that its Paris-born Le Méridien brand will open in Batumi, the brand’s first location in the Republic of Georgia. Scheduled to open in 2018, the 110-room newly constructed hotel will showcase modern architecture and design within the iconic Batumi Tower, a mixed-use development project that also includes a casino and unbranded residences. Designed by the Hausart Project, the landmark Batumi Tower is the tallest structure in the city and features a unique eight-cabin carousel wheel on the 27th floor.

“Le Méridien Batumi will join our Sheraton Batumi and Sheraton Metechi Palace hotels in the Republic of Georgia, and will be a great addition to the vibrant city of Batumi.”

“We thank the owners, Red-Co Ltd, for putting their trust in Starwood, and we look forward to a long and successful working relationship with them,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Le Méridien promises to ‘unlock’ each destination it enters for its guests and this hotel will inspire creative and curious minded travelers to discover the culture, the arts and cuisine of Batumi.”

Georgia attracts 10% more tourists in August

03.09.2015.  Georgia is continuing to experience growth in tourism; more visitors crossed the state border the last month than previous years.

Latest figures revealed there were 852,377 visitors to Georgia in August 2015 – a 10 percent increase on the same period in 2014.

Today the Information-Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs presented statistical data, which noted out of 852,377 visitors 383,619 were tourists. That was a two present increase year-on-year (y/y).

Meanwhile last month 383,619 visitors used Georgia as a transit country - a 54 percent increase y/y.

The remaining 243,765 people came for other purposes, such as business, which was a 3.5 percent increase compared to 2014.

Statistic showed most guests who visited Georgia last month came from Turkey, which was a 10 percent increase y/y, while the number of guests from Azerbaijan also increased 7.5 percent. The next highest number of visitors were from Armenia (24.7 percent more), followed by Russia (23 percent more) and Ukraine (5.6 percent more).

Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Turkish airline enters Georgia’s air market

31.08.2015. More planes will be flying between Georgian and Turkish skies when another Turkish airline enters the Georgian market.

From September 4 Istanbul-based airline Bora Jet Airlines will operate flights from Turkey’s Istanbul to Georgia’s seaside resort town Batumi.

The Istanbul-Batumi-Istanbul flights will be performed three times per week.

Georgia’s Economy Ministry has already issued permission for Bora Jet Airlines to begin the flight service.

Several Turkish airline companies already operate in the Georgian market including Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, Atlas Jet and now Bora Jet Airlines.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seaside resort areas are enjoying growing visitor numbers thanks to an increase in international flights.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prime Minister opens Coliseum-shaped hotel in Batumi, visits another hotel construction site

20.08.2015 (Hvino TOUR News). New five star luxury hotel has opened in Georgia’s costal city of Batumi, in Georgia's western Adjara region. The five-star  Colosseum Marina Hotel resembles the elliptical amphitheater of ancient Rome.

The construction of the hotel began in March 2013 and Mari Group invested $14 million to build the 10-storey hotel with 101 rooms, all with a view of the Black Sea coastline. The facility has a total area of 14,427 m sq.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili opened the Colosseum Marina Hotel today with representatives of the local government. “This year 20 projects of new hotels are ongoing in Batumi, in total an amount of $700 million has been invested. This indicates that demand is growing and the numbers of tourists are increasing in Batumi and in the region itself. Tourism is growing in Georgia and it is necessary for the state to support and encourage business,” Garibashvili said.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Georgian supra

17.08.2015. In the amazing country of Georgia, a supra (Georgian: სუფრა) is a traditional Georgian feast and an important part of Georgian social culture. Georgian wine (some of the finest in the world!) flows freely and several to several dozens of courses of food come out throughout the night, followed by dancing. A supra can go until 2 or 3 in the morning!

There are two types of supra: a festive supra (ლხინის სუფრა), called a keipi, and a sombre supra (ჭირის სუფრა), called a kelekhi, that is always held after burials.

In Georgian, “supra” means “tablecloth”. It’s likely related to the Arabic sofra (سفرة) and Turkish sofra, which are both words for traditional eating surfaces. Large public meals are never held in Georgia without a supra; when there are no tables, the supra is laid on the ground.

At a supra, toasting is a high art and I believe Georgians have elevated it more than any other culture in the world! What follows is how that toasting process, contest and history are all showcased during a supra.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Georgia offers more flights, fresh routes to new destinations

10.08.2015. With the summer aviation season now in full swing, Georgia is offering more flights into and out of the country.

Local airline Georgian Airways is adding two more directions to its existing routes until the end of the 2015 summer season.

One of the new routes will see Georgian Airways perform flights to Rostov, Russia twice per week from August 14.

The other new route, between Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and Iraq’s capital Baghdad, launched at the end of last week. The first flight took place on August 8 and operated once per week.

These two flight services have already been approved by Georgian Civil Aviation Agency.

Meanwhile flights between Georgia and the Iranian capital Tehran have recently resumed. From August 7 Iranian airline ATA Airlines performed the first Tbilisi-Tehran flight this summer season. This service will operate twice per week for the remainder of summer.