Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"Forbes": Georgia's Tourism Strategy is Starting to Pay Off

by Stephan Rabimov

04.10.2017. Georgia takes its tourism seriously, very seriously. Just ask Jesper Black. When the Dutch tourist landed at Tbilisi International Airport becoming the country’s six millionth visitor in 2016 he was whisked away in a Mercedes sedan for a red carpet welcome and private dinner with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The agency behind the campaign to mark the country’s milestone even created a website for Georgians to vote on which national dish should be served to the six millionth tourist, khinkali dumplings or chkmeruli chicken?

Clearly having jumped from 2.8 million visitors in 2011 to six million in 2016 is a big deal in this former Soviet Republic situated between Europe, Russia and the Middle East. And suddenly it feels as if it’s on every traveler’s radar. In 2015, Georgia ranked 25th on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go. New flight routes have launched from cities around Europe and this year Georgia made Conde Nast Traveler’s list of hottest upcoming wine destinations.

Friday, September 8, 2017

"The Telegraph" (UK): Casinos, craft beer and holy caves – is this Europe's most surprising country?

by  Liz Dodd

08.09.2017. Georgia’s splendid food, breathtaking nature and rich culture have long made it a sought-after destination for adventurous travellers. But the country - which this year opened up to British travellers with new direct flights from Gatwick to the capital Tbilisi (courtesy of Georgian Airways) - has far more to offer than khachapuri and red wine. Thriving amidst its Orthodox Christian cathedrals and farmsteads is a culture of gourmet coffee, clubbing and casinos. Where else could you dance the night away in a Soviet-era sewing factory, then recover on a tropical beach or in a cool mountain cave town? Here are seven surprising reasons you should go to Georgia.

1. You can visit Europe's most zany seaside town

Georgia’s Black Sea coast enjoys a bizarre, subtropical microclimate that feels more like Bali than Belarus. The best place to soak it all in is Batumi, an enticingly zany seaside town where casinos and skyscrapers - one with a Ferris Wheel stuck to the front - pop up in the middle of its lovingly renovated 19th-century boulevards. Just outside town the Botanical Gardens carpet the hillside with palm trees and plants from South America, Mexico and south-east Asia. In summer it can be suffocatingly humid and thunderstorms are frequent, so pack a raincoat alongside your swimwear.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Georgian Tourism Administration awarded for best marketing in Korea

06.06.2017. Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) has received the Best Tourism Marketing Award at the 32nd Korea World Travel Fair.

This is to certify that the above organisation is honoured with the best tourism marketing award of the 32nd Korea World Travel Fair at COEX from June 1 to June 4, 2017 for its great contribution to the tourism industry development with positive PR and marketing,” reads the certification given to the GNTA.

Together with the GNTA three Georgian travel agencies – Georgia Travel Group, VisitGeorgia and GeorgiCa Travel – participated in the fair as well.

The Embassy of Georgia in the Republic of Korea provided the Georgian delegation with administrative and logistical assistance.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Maya Sidamonidze: "The country has a huge tourism potential but its fifth is not used"

16.05.2017. Georgia's tourism industry is facing many challenges including education, staff, infrastructure, communication problems (electricity, water), - Maya  Sidamonidze, former chairperson of the National Tourism Agency, said in the air of  radio Commersant.

As Sidamonidze explains, these problems must be solved gradually in order investors to become more interested in investing in the region.

According to Sidamonidze, it is also important to diversify the attractiveness of regions as there are regions that work well on the season, but there are regions which potential is not used.

"There is a huge potential in Racha, Guria, there are many regions where tourism business can’t be developed   because of lack of infrastructure. There is a great tourist potential in the country, but its fifth is not used, " Sidamonidze believes.

In her words, the private business faces  problems concerning taxes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Vogue's 5 reasons to explore Georgia

12.04.2017 (Hvino News). A leading American lifestyle magazine Vogue published the article entitled  "5 Reasons to Explore the Mountains of Georgia". Written by Jennifer Murphy, the article outlines some of the most attractive touristic features of today's Georgia.

"Georgians, a proud, gregarious, food-and-wine-obsessed people, may be the world’s most welcoming hosts. The Tbilisi airport even greets visitors with a Wi-Fi network named “TBILISILOVESYOU,” - the article reads.

Apart from usual touristic musts like khachapuri and chacha, Jennifer Murphy pays attention to other important attractions, for example competitive prices for heli-skiing or paragliding. "Heli-skiing tops many adventure enthusiasts’ bucket lists, but to hire a chopper in powder meccas like Alaska, Japan, and the Alps can cost a small fortune. The Caucasus Mountains offer big lines and untouched terrain at half the heli-price tag ($160 per person compared to $390 in Switzerland)."

"The mountain regions of Georgia offer endless adventures, from ice climbing and white water rafting, to mountain biking and mountaineering. For an adrenaline rush without much physical effort, try paragliding. ... In winter, ride the chair lift alongside skiers and soar through the clouds, high above snow-capped peaks, getting the ultimate view of the region before landing right on the slopes.

Read the full Vogue article here.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Record number of tourists observed in 2016 in Georgia

05.04.2017. Tourism incomes have exceeded USD 2 billion, - Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said while delivering his speech at the UN World Tourism Organization Mountainous resorts third conference.

According to the Georgian Prime Minister, the number of international visitors in Georgia has significantly increased as a result of the consistent and gradual approaches by the government.

‘In 2016 Georgia observed a record number of tourists, reaching 6.3 million. The tourist incomes have exceeded 2 billion USD. The newly-established visa-free travel represents the most important achievement for Georgian citizens that will further deepen and encourage contacts, business relations and tourism,‘ - Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Largest low-coster Ryanair to launch service in Georgia

15.03.2017 (Hvino News). The information about Ireland's Ryanair entering Georgian market has been confirmed. Tbilisi already appeared in the codes of airline's airports which means that the company will make an announcement in the near future and start operating flights to Tbilisi.

It was already discussed last year that Ryanair was going to start operating flights in Georgia. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with commercial director of Ryanair David O’Brien. It was noted at the meeting that the interest of low-budget airlines for Georgia has increased due to the large amount of tourists, business environment in the country and visa liberalization process which allows Georgian citizens to travel visa-free to Schengen Area.

Davit O’Brien explained that airline would examine the infrastructure of Kutaisi International Airport and consider the possibilities of operating flights. He said that he believed negotiations with Georgian government would have a positive result.

Ryanair is a low-cost airline headquartered in Swords, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, with its primary operational bases at Dublin and London Stansted Airports. In 2016, Ryanair was both the largest European airline by scheduled passengers carried, and the busiest international airline by passenger numbers.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

‘Discount Week’ starts in Georgia

10.02.2017 Both domestic and international travelers can check out special offers this week for some of the best travel deals for a 2017 Georgia getaway.

Travellers will be able to enjoy discounts starting from 25 percent on bookings at more than 20 hotels in Georgia’s wine region Kakheti starting from February 8.

During ‘Discount Week’ – which is organised by the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) – Kakheti will welcome tourists seeking great vacation deals. Kakheti will be the first region to implement ‘Discount Week’, with regions across Georgia following with a similar event later on.

The main purpose of the initiative is to attract tourists to various destinations in Georgia during the off season.
The GNTA has already invited hotels to submit their letters of interest.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Forbes" features Georgia in its "Top Underrated Wine Regions To Visit"

17.01.2017 (Hvino News).  Leading American business magazine  Forbes in its lifestyle section recently published article The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017: A Month-By-Month Guide.

"After spending most of my year in vineyards around the world, I compiled this month-to-month guide identifying the new frontiers of enotourism", - author Lauren Mowery writes in her preface.

The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017 features Georgia's Kakheti region as follows:
Kakheti, Georgia. Within wine circles and, increasingly, mainstream travel media, the word on Georgia as a vinous destination has spread. Yet few have actually made the trek to this country bordering Armenia and Turkey. Translation: villages remain authentically charming, the countryside still a peaceful refuge and the unique winemaking traditions endure intact. Kakheti, nestled at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, is the main region, known for fermenting wine underground in terra-cotta jars called qvevri. A delicious food culture sweetens the incentive to visit.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Georgia witnesses 7.6% tourist growth in 2016

by David Thompson

06.01.2017. The head of Georgia’s National Tourism Administration, Giorgi Chogovadze, revealed 6,350,825 international visitors arrived in Georgia last year, which is 449,731 more than the year previous, according to local media.

The largest number of tourists is reported to come from Azerbaijan (1,523,075, an increase of 9.3%)

Second place is Armenia (1,496,246, an increase of 1.9%) followed by Turkey (1,254,089 – a decreased of 9.9% from last year).

In fourth place was Russia with 1,037,564 tourists visiting Georgia in 2016, a full 12% more than in 2015.

Visits from Ukraine increased by 21.8%, amounting to 172,631 people.

The latest data indicates year-on-year visitors from Europe also show positive signs; with the total number of travellers from Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Germany all significantly increasing.

“A exceptional increase in tourism was observed from the following countries: Iran (+485%), India (+ 199%), Saudi Arabia (+ 116%), the Philippines (+ 89%), Oman (+ 75%), and China (+46%),” Chogovadze said.

Income from international tourism was also reported to have increased, amounting to USD 1.7 billion in three quarters of 2016, representing $ 177 million more than figures from the previous year.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hilton expands European Capital City presence to Tbilisi

20.12.2016 (Hvino News). Hilton is to introduce its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand to the capital of Georgia with the signing of a management agreement with Granat LLC. The 206-guest room Hilton Tbilisi is set to open in early 2019. The building’s historic façade will be preserved as part of the design, while a striking glass roof will be constructed on top of the building and will house the hotel’s rooftop bar and spa.

“Hilton Tbilisi joins a robust portfolio of Hilton Hotels & Resorts either trading or in development across 30 European capitals, underscoring our regional strategy to expand into more Eastern European cities,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President of Development, EMEA, Hilton. “Tbilisi’s diverse economy, with substantial international infrastructure investment, a burgeoning events calendar and leisure growth, makes the city a promising market to be introducing our flagship brand to.”

Located on Kostrova Street, Hilton Tbilisi will be equidistant between two of the city’s most vibrant and colourful districts. Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, Rustavelli Avenue, three kilometers away and spotted with picturesque architecture, is home to the city’s main cultural, religious and government buildings. Vake, the city’s busy commercial district and the heart of Tbilisi’s developing financial center, can be found the same distance in the opposite direction. Hilton Tbilisi will also be two kilometers from the city’s main train station and 15 kilometers from Tbilisi International Airport.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Zurab Pololikashvili nominated to position of World Tourism Organisation's head

16.11.2016 (Hvino News). Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili nominated Zurab Pololikashvili as Georgia’s candidate for the position of Secretary General  of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for 2018-2021. Zurab Pololikashvili is Georgian Ambassador Spain, and Permanent Representative to the World Tourism Organisation.

The Prime Minister underlined the UNWTO’s role in the development of tourism, economic growth and in the process of the country’s development. Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted that Zurab Pololikashvili’s background fully meets the eligibility criteria for assuming the most demanding duties of the General Secretary of UNWTO.

The event was attended by representatives of the Georgian Government and the diplomatic corps. Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze  underlined that it is for the first time that Georgia has a real chance to present its candidature for such a high-ranking post.

The Secretary General position at the UNWTO for 2018-2021 will be selected in May 2017 by an Executive Board comprised of 33 nations.

Zurab Pololikashvili for many years has been holding leadership positions both in private and in public sectors. In 2005-2006 he worked as Deputy Foreign Minister; in 2009-2010 he served as Minister of Economic Development.

In September 2016 UNWTO organized its first conference on wine tourism in Georgia.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Euronews": Boosting the Georgian tourism industry with the help of international stars (video)

09.11.2016. At the World Travel Market 2016 in London, the leading event for the global travel industry, Euronews spoke to George Chogovadze, Head of Administration at the Georgian National Tourism Administration, about the country’s latest campaign in order to make its voice heard in the industry – through inviting major international stars.

This year we have introduced a new project, which is called “Check In Georgia”. This is a program to bring big-name pop stars to make Georgia well known and to make people to travel to Georgia because of these new festivals and events. Next year, we will continue the project with big names from different fields, but we will also continue our marketing campaigns because of the fact that Georgia is a very small country despite this fact we have very diverse regions and experiences that we can offer to the world.


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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Natia Chkhartishvili shares Shilda's ambitious expansion plans

Click to enlarge
05.11.2016 (Hvino News). The London's Mayfair Times magazine in its November issue published an interview with Natia Chkhartishvili focusing on Georgian wine  (click on the scan to enlarge).

Natia is known as founder of successful British jewellery brand Eshvi. Her UK-based family also owns wine and brandy production business under the Shilda brand in Kakheti, Georgia. She is daughter of Vano Chkhartishvili, former minister of  economy and MP of Georgia, who is currently considered as one of Georgia's wealthiest businessmen with estimated wealth of around $100 million.

Noticing the lack of knowledge of Georgian wine internationally, Natia and her family formed
Shilda - "a wine company that aims to help the country’s small, traditional winemakers showcase their wine globally".

Author Reyhaan Day points out that Natia wants to make Georgia – and in particular the wine region of Kakheti – a true international destination.

In her interview entitled "A Fine Vintage" she explains that a series of contemporary buildings surrounding Shilda’s vineyards, including luxury accommodation and a spa, are currently being constructed. "This will be one of the most innovative projects in the Kakheti region", - says Natia.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Rest areas will be developed on Georgia’s all main roads

04.11.2016 (Hvino News). Travel in Georgia will become more comfortable after the country’s National Tourism Administration introduces its plan of opening rest areas along all major thoroughfares across Georgia.

Head of the Georgian Tourism Administration Giorgi Chogovadze revealed the plan in his interview.

Chogovadze said rest stations would be spaced roughly 40 minutes apart on motorways at which drivers and passengers will be able to rest, eat, or refuel.

"According to our plan, on all central road arteries in Georgia there will be such services available,” Chogovadze said.

He added that there were three such road arteries in the country:

  • From Tbilisi to Kakheti in Georgia’s east
  • From Tbilisi to Kazbegi in Georgia’s north
  • From Tbilisi to Georgia’s west

The Head of the Tourism Administration said the scale of such stations might not be as big as the one near Gori in central Georgia, but they all will include toilets and other necessary infrastructure.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Georgia’s PM Kvirikashvili Introduces Tourism Development Fund

06.10.2016. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced at an official presentation Tuesday that the country’s Co-Investment Fund will establish a USD 680 million Tourism Development Fund for eight large-scale projects in Tbilisi, Guria, Ajara and Samegrelo (Megrelia).

Kvirikashvili said he hopes the Fund will mark a major turning point in the development of Georgia’s tourism sector.

"Georgia has a great deal of potential when it comes to promoting the tourism industry. We can’t spare any effort in becoming a distinct destination on the global tourism map…Awareness and interest towards Georgia are growing on a daily basis and setting up the Tourism Development Fund is a very timely step towards achieving this goal,“ Kvirikashvili said.

The Prime Minister also announced that a multifunctional retail and tourism complexes would be constructed near Tbilisi’s central Freedom Square, Sololaki Ridge and Tabor Mountain.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

20% more tourists visit Georgia this year, exceeds 4 million

04.10.2016. Tourism is growing in Georgia and the country is reaping the benefits of billions of dollars coming into the local economy from international tourism.

So far this year almost five million foreign guests have enjoyed the sights and sounds Georgia has to offer.

Today head of Georgia’s National Tourism Administration (GNTA) Giorgi Chogovadze summed up activities of the tourism sector during the first nine months of 2016.

Between January and September 2016 the number of tourists who visited Georgia increased by 19.5 percent, while the number of international travellers had increased by 8.6 percent year-on-year (y/y).

In the first nine months of the year Georgia hosted 4,879,031 international visitors (tourists, transit, other). Of this number 2,156,731 were tourists, said Chogovadze.

Between January and September 2016 the most international visitors came from:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

France’s Le Figaro to feature article on Georgia’s tourism

20.09.2016. Journalists from French daily Le Figaro are currently taking part in a media tour of Georgia and plan to write 10-page coverage story highlighting Georgia’s tourism potential.

According to Georgia’s tourism board, the journalists will visit sites in Tbilisi, Kazbegi, Borjomi, Vardzia, Akhaltsikhe and the country’s main wine-making region of Kakheti.

The article will appear in Le Figaro in spring 2017.

Le Figaro’s print edition currently has a circulation of 400,000 readers in France, while its online edition has 31 million  monthly readers.


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