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.

    Georgian Wine Catalogue      
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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.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Memorandum of understanding between GNTA and Korea Tourism Organization

07.08.2015. (Hvino News). With active involvement of the Embassy of Georgia in the Republic of Korea, on July 24th, 2015 the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Georgian National Tourism Administration and Korea Tourism Organization in Seoul, Korea.

From Georgian side, the document was signed by the Georgian Ambassador in the Republic of Korea, Mr. Nikoloz Apkhazava. The Memorandum aims to strengthen ties between the two countries, support the exchange of information and contribute to efforts of increasing the flow of tourists.

© Hvino News

    Georgian Wine Catalogue      
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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Georgian officials demand stronger national carrier

11.07.2015. Senior officials in the airport and tourism business in Georgia are pushing national carrier AirZena Georgian Airways to take a much more active role in enhancing direct air connectivity from the country to support growing demand. In discussions at the Routes Silk Road forum in the country’s capital city, Tbilisi, the national entity was labelled as a ‘weak’ operator that has failed to support Georgia’s wider development needs.

Initially established in September 1994 under the AirZena brand, the carrier provided charter flights to the United Arab Emirates, Italy, China, Egypt, India, Syria and regular scheduled flights to Austria. It was granted national carrier status in November 1999 and latterly the Georgian Airways title has been added.

In the past four weeks the carrier has introduced three new regional destinations to its route network from Tbilisi International Airport with flights to the Russian city of St Petersburg, the Armenian capital Yerevan and most recently the Ukrainian Black Sea destination of Odessa. These build upon a new link from the Georgian capital to the Russian city of Samara and seasonal services to Paris that were introduced earlier this year, but officials believe there is significant further growth opportunities.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Airline experts in Tbilisi for Routes Silk Road 2015

06.07.2015. (Hvino News) Representatives from about 40 airlines, 50 airports and 200 tourism authorities from the Silk Road region are in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to discuss ways to expand the aviation industry and better connect countries in the wider region.

Routes Silk Road 2015 is the route development forum that connects CIS, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Georgia is a bridge connecting several important economic regions including Europe, the Newly Independent States (NIS), Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asia region. Its geographic location makes the country the transportation hub for commerce and job creation.

For the second time Tbilisi is hosting the Routes Silk Road 2015 aviation forum, which is the only route development forum that connects CIS, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asian countries.

United Airports of Georgia (UAG) is hosting the international forum with support from the Georgian National Tourism Administration. During the three-day event, which began on July 5, participants will discuss key aviation issues such as air traffic and regional tourism development in the Routes Silk Road Strategy Summit section of the event, while the second part of the forum will be dedicated to meetings where representatives of airlines will discuss future cooperation and plan new air routes.

Friday, July 3, 2015

World Bank supports improved tourism infrastructure in Georgia

03.07.2015. The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved on July 1 an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan in the amount of US$60 million to Georgia for the Third Regional Development Project.

The project objective is to improve infrastructure services and institutional capacity to support increased contribution of tourism in the local economy of the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions, according to the World Bank.

The project includes two components: i) urban regeneration and tourism circuit development and provision of public infrastructure to attract private investments, and ii) institutional development.

“The main beneficiaries of the project are the residents and tourists in Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions, who will have access to improved public and tourism infrastructure in renovated cities cultural heritage sites,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “The goal is to attract private investments, promote public-private partnerships, revitalize local business activity, and develop regional tourism circuits. Owing to these improvements, the population of the region is expected to see an improved quality of life.”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Mashable" on Georgian wine: This former Soviet republic is the next big food and wine destination

by Susan Shain

02.07.2015. When you arrive at the airport in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, the passport control agent hands you a bottle of wine to welcome you.

I’ve traveled to many countries, and have never once received a gift upon arrival — especially none so delicious or storied as Georgian wine.

I took it as a sign I would enjoy traveling in Georgia. And I was right.

The Republic of Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Union, straddles the divide between Europe and Asia and has a population of almost 4 million. Its borders are created by the Caucasus Mountains and Russia to the north, the Black Sea to the west, Armenia and Turkey to the south, and Azerbaijan to the east.

For a country roughly the size of West Virginia, Georgia is home to an astonishing number of indigenous grapes Georgia is home to an astonishing number of indigenous grapes, with more than 500. (To put that into perspective, there are only 2,000 grape varieties in the whole world.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"The Korea Herald": Georgia trumpets status as the jewel of Caucasus

Amb. Apkhazava (center) with GNTA
staff at Coex  / The Korea Herald

by Joel Lee

21.06.2015. Georgia has described itself as the hidden tourist gem of the Caucasus for many years.

Aided by government-led promotion and online marketing, tourists from around the world are opening their eyes to the country’s treasure trove of attractions.

Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia has had cultural interactions with neighboring Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey for centuries. As a result, the tourism experience is multifaceted and multilayered, offering a mix of historic sightseeing, religious tours, cultural events, winemaking, spa-bathing and caving.

Georgia has an extremely diverse climate and terrain, from the Black Sea coast to the Caucasus Mountains, and from alpine meadows to semi-deserts, valleys and wetlands. Visitors can go skiing, paragliding, horseback riding, rafting, biking, hiking and ballooning.