Following a visit to the self-described healing centre, Georgia National Tourism Administration (GNTA) head Giorgi Sigua said medical tourism development in Georgia was a main priority of the Government in the next few years. GNTA is responsible for tourism development policy in the country.
Sigua said it had realized only 5% of Tskaltubo’s medical tourism potential, and only one hotel out of 22 accommodation suppliers was currently operating, when preciously, they were all in full use.
"The health characteristics of the mineral springs of warm Radon waters, the unique climate, the Kutaisi International Airport located 20km from the resort and infrastructure projects implemented following financial support from the World Bank, [encourages us to believe] Tskaltubo will regain its past attractiveness and become the medical hub of the region,” Sigua said.
The health resort in Tskaltubo is famous for its mineral springs, which naturally flow between 33-35 degrees. On the spa’s website, it claimed since the 1940s, the "unique water” had been known for its healing properties and could cure several diseases including heart disease, nervous system disorders, gynecological issues, skin diseases and more.
According to a Ministry of Economy feasibility study, Tskaltubo’s water composition was very complex and rare, and there were no analogies in Asian or European countries. While salt and mineralization levels were low, the salts had extremely active calcium and magnesium contents.
"The chemical composition of Tskaltubo’s water does not include any strong toxic substances. The chemical composition of almost all of Tskaltubo’s waters is more or less identical. It does not change seasonally and it does not depend on the amount of sediment (rain, snow etc.),” the report stated.
"With the subtropical climate and is considered to be the warmest spa resort in Eurasian region with the average annual temperature of +15C, with average low of +19C and average high of +25C.”
In 1989, 5,800 people were able to stay in one of Tskaltubo’s 22 sanatorium’s. The region received 500000 visitors annually. The resort had the ability to host 15,000 tourists on a daily basis.
In the 12th and 13th Centuries, Tskaltubo was widely popular as a destination for health treatments due to the unique therapeutic qualities of its thermal waters.
Tskaltubo was a booming touristic destination in Soviet times, as the last stop on the train from Moscow.
GNTA claimed last year 95% of guests who visited the resort were international visitors from Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan and other nations.
The Tskaltubo Spa Resort 4-star complex, with 59 rooms, opened in July, 2011. This spring, one more hotel, named Tskaltubo Plaza, will open.