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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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

UN to host first conference on wine tourism in Georgia

06.09.2016. For the first edition of a UN-organized conference on wine tourism, leaders will gather in the cradle of winemaking next week to discuss the burgeoning industry and its importance in local heritage.

It's a strategic and significant decision to hold the first edition of the UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism in the South Caucasus country of Georgia instead of bigger and more popular wine tourism destinations like France, Italy, Spain or Australia.

By choosing Georgia, organizers are returning to what some experts have described as the birthplace of winemaking.

Evidence of winemaking traditions have been traced back 8,000 years among archeological records found in Georgia, well before reaching Western Europe.

At the conference, experts and industry leaders will discuss the development of a Wine Tourism Prototype, a model that will focus on the integration of wineries in the local cultural, economic, social and environmental heritage.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Georgia and UNWTO to host first Global Conference on Wine Tourism (+ Conference Program)

17.08.2016 (Hvino News). The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the Georgian National Tourism Administration will present the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism to be held in the Kakheti wine region of Georgia from 7-9 September.

See the conference program below.

The Conference will have a unique and dynamic format in which the sessions will take place in different wineries. Expert speakers will provide snapshot presentations to lead the debates which will ensue at each of the tables. Participants will be requested to actively participate in the interactive debates with the expert speakers which will be rotating among the tables. The conclusions of the Conference will be a compilation of all the information debated during each meeting.

“Wine tourism represents a growing segment with immense opportunities to diversify demand. In the case of Georgia, this potential is well-known and we are very pleased to be holding the first UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism in the country,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO.

Monday, August 15, 2016

PM pledges to develop mountainous tourism in Georgia’s Black Sea region

15.08.2016. Georgia’s Black Sea region Adjara continues to gain popularity for its sea and mountainous places among foreign visitors choosing to spend their holidays in Georgia.

Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, while presenting the majoritarian candidate for the region, announced that the government is working on a plan to turn Adjara into a developed four season tourist destination.

“I am happy to see that the region is full of tourists and visitors. We have a plan and definite intentions for both coastal and mountainous Adjara, aiming to make them even more attractive for tourists,” Kvirikashvili said.

The PM emphasized that the plan includes renovation of new roads leading from seaside areas to the mountainous parts of Adjara, as well as construction and promotion of new European style mountain resorts in the region.

The latest statistics published by the Tourism and Resorts Department of Adjara state that the number of tourists visiting the region during the January-July period increased by 73.35 percent y-o-y to reach 21,500 people. The majority of guests are from Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Israel. The information is based on data provided by tourist information centers.

According the Adjara Tourism Department, most visitors are interested in high-mountainous areas and ecotourism.


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Monday, July 18, 2016

Georgia as a top tourist destination: Behind the scenes

by  Keti Sidamonidze and Ludovic Girod

18.07.2016. Less than four years ago, in 2012 the worldwide known tourist guide Lonely Planet attributed to Georgia a title of top world destination. Afterwards, the US influential magazine New Yorker named Georgia as the place worth visiting in 2015 and, this year, the country has been acknowledged by CNN as one of the best tourist destinations. The growing world’s attention to this pearl of the Caucasian region can be said is primarily driven by the uniqueness of place, constant tourist infrastructure development, effective governmental initiatives, as well as efficient marketing strategy.

The recently published data by the Georgian National Tourism Administration shows that Georgia has experienced significant growth of the number of international arrivals: since 2014 the growth rate has been established at 14% while the worldwide index does not surpass 3.4%. Development of tourist industry has a noteworthy impact upon the economy of the country since its share in GDP amounted to almost 6.8% in 2015. According to some experts of the industry, the potential is still to be exploited better. For example, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum ranks Georgia at the 71st place among 141 countries. The country has got the lowest score in a sub-index of natural and cultural resources (2.1% and 1.5% out of 7% correspondingly). These pillars concern attractiveness measures to promote natural and cultural World Heritage sites, the percentage of nationally protected areas, the number of large stadiums hosting significant events, the number of international meetings within the country, etc. This information unveils some areas for further performance improvement.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Air Arabia begins services to Batumi

12.07.2016 (Hvino News). Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, touched down in Batumi, the second largest city of Georgia.

The airline operates two weekly flights to the famed Black Sea port city from its primary Sharjah International Airport hub on Thursday and Saturdays at 13:15, arriving at Batumi at 16:40. The return flights are scheduled to leave Batumi International Airport at 17:30 to arrive in Sharjah at 20:50.

A fascinating seaside resort city steeped in history and blessed with abundant natural beauty, Batumi has built a reputation as a safe, affordable destination, helping it find a niche among travelers looking beyond traditional tourist spots. The city’s varied charms include a cluster of classical 19th century edifices dotting its historic Old Town, including museums, monuments, cultural centers, and mosques and cathedrals.
Batumi is equally known for its stunning beaches, parks and squares, and the surge in tourism over the last decade has seen a number of modern buildings, including five-star hotels and resorts from international chains, take their place alongside the historical town that offers a window into Batumi’s rich past.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Georgian Railway deploys Swiss-made double decker trains

30.06.2016  (Hvino Tour News). Swiss Stadler Rail is to supply Georgian Railway with four KISS double-deck electric multiple-units under an €39.6m agreement.

The EMUs are to be delivered between June and September and will be deployed on fast services between Tbilisi and the Black Sea resorts of Batumi, Kobuleti and Ureki. GR said the new rolling stock would improve passenger comfort and help to support tourism. The new trainsets would be fully compliant with European safety standards, and be the first Georgian trainsets to be ‘completely adjusted to the needs of physically disabled persons’, GR added.

Each new train will be able to service about 530 passengers at once and reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

Georgian Railway says it has no plans to raise the cost of tickets. At present, a ticket from Tbilisi to Batumi costs 19-26 GEL.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Travel & tourism investments in Georgia to rise by 6.3% in 2016

20.06.2016. Travel & Tourism investment in Georgia in 2015 was GEL 231.7mn, or 3.4% of total investment. The figure is forecasted to rise by 6.3% in 2016. The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was GEL2,195.9 mn (7.1% of total GDP) in 2015, and is forecast to rise by 5.9% in 2016, and to rise by 6.1% pa, from 2016-2026, to GEL4,212.6 mn (8.4% of total GDP) in 2026.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism, in 2015 Travel & Tourism in Georgia directly supported 100,500 jobs (5.8% of total employment). This is expected to rise by 4.2% in 2016 and rise by 1.8% pa to 125,000 jobs (7.2% of total employment) in 2026. Rochelle Turner is the head of research at “WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2016 Georgia”.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

New website helps tourists book local guides in Georgia

28.05.2016. A new online platform is being created in Georgia allowing tourists to find and book a guide to lead them to the country’s most beautiful destinations.

The Tourism Development Initiative Society started developing a webpage about two months ago that provides a guide booking service to tourists coming to Georgia.

The organisation’s director Giorgi Kvezereli told the webpage was still being developed but the guide booking service was already available in Russian and English, and it was proving very popular.

More than 50 local guides were registered on the webpage and "dozens of guides” have already been booked said Kvezereli.

The cost to book a guide per day started at 120 GEL (about $56/€50*).

Our goal is to create an informative online catalogue for foreigners which will give them all the information they need about Georgia’s touristic opportunities. From Georgia’s iconic touristic destinations to the hospitality sector – all information will be available on the webpage,” Kvezereli said.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chinese airline to perform direct service from Georgia to USA

25.05.2016 (Hvino Tour News).  According to Igor Aptsiauri, first deputy director of the civil aviation agency, Chinese Hualing Group - Georgia’s major investment company - plans to introduce Chinese airline My Way Airlines to Georgia, to perform direct flights to the USA.

My Way Airlines is a new airline that was established in China and that will operate in Georgia. The airline will be incorporated in Georgia, Igor Aptsiauri said.

 “Currently, there is a solution of technical issues and consultations at the expert level. We have already received a notification from the Chinese aviation authorities about the fact that the company will be called My Way Airlines”, Mr. Aptsiauri said.

Dmitry Kumsishvili,  Georgian Economy Minister, announced about appearance  of the new airline in the Georgian civil aviation market.

Hualing intends to bring a new airline to Georgia, which will have two Boing-737s and one Boeing-777. It will operate its flights to Europe and Asia, then, as expected, it will begin direct flights to the U.S.”, he said.

My Way Airlines will have the base in Georgia and employ local residents.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Tripadvisor and Georgian Tourism Board launch joint campaign

20.05.2016. Georgia’s National Tourism Administration signed a joint advertising agreement on Wednesday with travel web site Tripadvisor.

The campaign will include posts and detailed information about Georgia over the next six months.

Tripadvisor’s marketing manager Chad Shiver arrived in Georgia to discuss the terms of the agreement. Shriver said the web portal would post photos, video and banners about Georgia.

“It is my first time in Georgia, but I appreciated the beauty of Tbilisi, and I am sure the country has great potential to attract tourists from different countries,” said Shiver.

In the first phase, the advertising campaign will target ten countries including Azerbaijan, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Russia. The cost of the campaign amounts to 200,000 GEL (USD 93,000).

Monday, May 16, 2016

World Bank to help Georgia with tourism infrastructure

At Vani Archaeological Museum
16.05.2016 (Hvino News). The World Bank (WB) will allocate Georgia $9 million for the restoration of urban, municipal and tourist infrastructure in Imereti region, Western Georgia, to promote cultural and historical monuments as well as attract tourists.

Financial resources will be allocated for the additional financing of the second project of the regional development, which envisages reconstruction of Vani Archaeological Museum-Reserve and the access road to it, as well as construction of wastewater treatment plant in Tsqaltubo, Western Georgia.

Georgia joined the WB in 1992. During this time, more than 73 projects with a total value of $2.58 billion were financed.

Rehabilitation and development of tourist infrastructure is one of the main areas financed by the WB.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Kazakh airline to start flights to Batumi

29.04.2016. Kazakh airline SCAT will start flights to Batumi in early June, according to the head of Adjara’s Tourism Department, Mamuka Berdzenishvili.

The number of Kazakh citizens travelling to Georgia in the first quarter of 2016 grew by 21 per cent, which necessitated increased air passenger traffic between the two former Soviet countries.

“For the first time in history, we will have direct flights to/from Kazakhstan. The flights will start from the beginning of June. SCAT Airlines will make flights from Kazakh city Aktau to Batumi,” said Berdzenishvili.

He also said plans are in the works to increase the number of flights to Batumi from Turkey and Belarus.

Established in 1997, SCAT Airlines’ main base is in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The company's fleet consists of mainly western-owned aircraft and offers services to more than 80 domestic and international air routes.

According to data from the Georgian National Tourism Department, the number of tourists from Kazakhstan in Georgia in the first quarter of 2016 was 6,290, up 27 per cent from the same period last year.


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Friday, April 15, 2016

Tbilisi hosts international tourist exhibition CTF 2016

15.04.2016. Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is hosting the 18th International Tourism Fair of the Silk Road countries Caucasus Tourism Fair (CTF) 2016.

The CTF 2016, dedicated to promoting the revival of Georgian domestic tourism and foreign tourism destinations, is being held from April 14-16 at ExpoGeorgia.

Representatives from 68 tourism operators from eight countries are in Georgia to participate in the exhibition to showcase the attractiveness, sites and cultures of each country.

Georgia’s Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili and head of Georgia's National Tourism Administration (GNTA) Giorgi Chogovadze officially opened the CTF 2016 this morning.

Monday, April 11, 2016

"Vinichio Valley" project in Kakheti introduced to Georgian business representatives

11.04.2016 (Hvino News). On April 9th the International Chamber of Commerce of Georgia (ICC) organized a tour for its members to Vinichio Valley Vineyard in Kakheti (East Georgia).

Vinichio Valley is a large agricultural project by Tbilisi-based ARIC Group, which will focus on wine and food production on a 2000-hectares land plot stretching along the river Iori in Sagaredjo region of Kakheti   Map .

Local Georgian vine varieties saperavi, rkatsiteli, alexandreuli have already been partially planted on 400 hectares of land allocated for vineyards, making Vinichio one of Europe's largest projects of this type. 2017 will see the first Vinichio's harvest.

Apart of wine, Vinichio is set to produce seedless table grapes, fresh and dried fruits and nuts. It will also offer high-end facilities for wine tourism including villas and will have its own airfield for easy transportation.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

International tourism exhibition exposes Georgia as the best wine direction

26.03.2016. Georgia was named as the best wine direction at the Berlin international tourism exhibition - ITB Berlin. Moreover, Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organization, handed over a special award to the national tourism administration of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.

At the ITB 2016 exhibition nineteen private companies and state organizations were represented from Georgia jointly with the national tourism administration.

According to the national tourism administration, at the exhibition meetings were held with international marketing and promotion agencies, reporters, bloggers, tourism service suppliers, tour operators and organizers of various exhibitions

More than 120 000 visitors attended the world’s one of the largest tourism exhibitions. The ITB 2016 hosted representatives of 187 countries.


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