Sunday, December 16, 2012

South Caucasus tourism research data published

16.12.2012. Comprehensive study of tourism and hotel services in South Caucasus was conducted by Ameria Consultancy to assess the current situation and the development trends in this segment. The study is an analysis of the macroeconomic condition, hotel sector earnings, their share in the overall GDP, average annual rates of hotel rooms in the South Caucasus region, a comparison of occupancy figures, as well as the prevailing trends.

The results of the study show that in 2011 about 5.2 million people visited the South Caucasus countries on business and other purposes.

According to a senior expert in Ameria, Artashes Shaboyan, in 2002 Georgia accounted for 28.8% of the total number of tourists visiting the South Caucasus; in 2011 it accounted already for 54.9 %. In 2002 Azerbaijan accounted for 55.6%, in 2011 its share dropped to 30.4%. Armenia was third, 15.6% in 2002 and 14.7% in 2011.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Betania resort meets season with cableway for kids

15.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Betania resort will offer visitors a new cableway. Beka Beradze of "Rendezvous Betania" said cableway will be for kids of 7 - 18 years old, but the children under 6 years will also be able ride - free of charge and with parent's supervision. Apart from a cableway for kids, the visitors will be able to use new food facilities. "Rendezvous Betania" is going to offer a variety entertainments.

Mr. Beradze says the resort is able to host 4 500 people.  Betania is located 18 kilometers from Tbilisi and has a 600 meter mountain, skiing trails, two ropeways, indoor and outdoor cafés, and a hotel. Users visit Betania mostly for weekend for several hours, but some of them stay at the resort.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Georgian officials comment on development of tourism sector

14.12.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). "Tourism development in the country will be based on agricultural sector", - said Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Sector Economy Zurab Tkemaladze. He says that Georgia will not be dependent solely on tourism, and agricultural area, on which the development of tourism will be based, is announced a priority today.

According to the head of the National Tourism Agency Maia Sidamonidze, tourism remains a priority in Georgia, along with additional jobs, as this sector can attract more investments. Sidamonidze explains that in Georgia all the infrastructure projects are underway which will promote the development of tourism and infrastructure. Sidamonidze said that the launched projects will continue in Borjomi and Racha, and infrastructure projects are continuing with support of World Bank funds (see also: World Bank supports infrastructure in Georgia).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gudauri Radisson's construction contractor changed

13.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Construction of Radisson hotel in Gudauri will be finished by Artes company and not by Georgian Guns. Georgian Guns' representative says that at this stage there is no claims between Gudauri Development Fund and the company and negotiations are underway to determine the costs and unforeseen expenditures .

The company has not divulged why the contract was changed, according to which Gudauri Development Fund ordered the company a 5-star hotel instead of 3-star without increase in budget. Also, it’s unclear why the company which will complete construction of the hotel was changed. As Georgian Guns notes, internal works in the hotel are almost completed and the unit is expected to be finished next summer.

Minority member in Tbilisi City Assembly Zaza Gabunia will hold a meeting with Georgian Guns without participation of Gudauri Development Fund. Gabunia explains that the meeting serves to identify the parties’ responsibility. Along with that, Gabunia is studying the documents and if it is revealed that the contract was changed unlawfully, he will apply to the Prosecutor's Office.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warmer winter is expected in Georgia

12.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) The average winter temperature in Georgia will be higher than normal this winter season, according to National Environmental Agency. The agency predicts the winter will be warmer in eastern Georgia and in western coastal regions high rainfall will be observed. At the same time, the temperature will be higher than normal.

According to the agency, the average winter temperature is usually 5-9 degrees in western Georgia, but this season temperature will rise several degrees. The temperature is expected to rise 2 degrees in the east of Georgia while the average winter temperature in East Georgia in the past years was -1-2 degrees.

According to the National Environmental Agency, a few degrees increase of the average winter temperature would not affect the holiday season.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Head of "North Caucasus Resorts" talks about tourism in Georgia

10.12.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). Northern Caucasus Resorts (NCR) is a Russian company which is developing world-class resorts under a project of development of tourism cluster in the South of Russia, including  Lagonaki (Krasnodar Region, Adygeуa), Arkhyz (Karachay-Cherkessia), Elbrus-Bezengi (Kabardino-Balkaria), Mamison (North Ossetia-Alania), Matlas (Dagestan), Tsori and Armkhi (Ingushetia),  beach resorts on the coast of the Caspian Sea (Dagestan). Chairman of the Board of Directors of OJSC "North Caucasus Resorts” Ahmed Bilalov was interviewed by radio Commersant.

- When the North Caucasus resorts will receive the first tourists and on what segment are they calculated?

- Tourism Cluster Project which started in the south of Russia is extensive and covers all regions of the Russian Caucasus – from the Black Sea to the Caspian. According to the project, by 2020 there will be over 1 000 km long mountain - ski slopes, cableway meant for 20 people, hotels and apartments meant for 100 thousand rooms. The people of various taste and wallet will be able to rest here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hvino TOUR News launches "Breathtaking Georgia" Contest

09.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) We are pleased to announce our 2013 Photo Contest "HTN Breathtaking Georgia"Hvino Tour News welcomes photographs of Georgia, which reveal uniqueness and beauty of the country and its people.

The winners will receive a box of excellent Georgian wine - directly from the producer.

Additional prizes may be introduced from other sponsor companies (If you are a company interested in sponsorship, please contact us at e-mail mentioned below).

Contest is open to everyone: professional and non-professional photographers, from any country of the world, and from Georgia itself. Participants may submit one or several photographs.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Georgia is a safer destination for Israeli tourists than Turkey

08.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) As Georgian tourism is growing as a high profile investment area for Israeli tourism capital, Turkish media point out that Israeli tourists who for various reasons avoid Turkey often choose Georgia as safer destination.

Turkish media quote interview of Itsik Moshe, the President of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, to Georgian newspaper. Moshe said that 60,000 Israeli tourists visited Georgia in 2012: "The Chamber expects the arrival of 100,000 tourists for 2013 and intends to increase their number to at least 200,000. Eight percent of the tourists from Israel are from the medical sphere. As the statistics show, each tourist spends about USD 1,000 in Georgia".

Friday, December 7, 2012

Britain's "The Telegraph" on Tbilisi tourism

07.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) The Telegraph, Britain's leading newspaper, has published yesterday an illustrated article on Tbilisi in its Travel Section.

Besides Tbilisi's touristic attractions, the article lists useful information like airline routes to Tbilisi, suggested hotels and restaurants with prices. Parts of article "Tbilisi, Georgia: a cultural city guide" by Claire Allfree follow below. 
"The fabulous land" is how Alexander Pushkin described Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia since the fifth century. And staring at this defiantly lovely city, which straddles the steep banks of the Mtkvari river, I can see why. The busy heart of the bleak and mountainous region that stretches beneath Russia’s southern border, Tbilisi has positioned itself for centuries as a crossroads between Europe and Asia, and proof of its long, tumultuous, bloody history of occupation is immediately evident – among other things – in the pastel-coloured onion layers of its higgledy-piggledy architecture.<...>

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Georgia and Mexico: cooperation in tourism

06.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Georgia and Mexico have signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of tourism. The signing ceremony was held on Devember 5 at the Secretariat of Tourism in Mexico City.

From Georgian side the document was signed by Ambassador to Mexico Mvalhaz Mikeladze. From Mexican side - by Gloria Guevara Manzo, Head of Secretariat of Tourism.

The ceremony was attended by counselor of Georgian Embassy G. Handamishvili, and by department head of Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico Virginia Messinia Portugal, Director-General of Social Communication Alberto Petrearse Vialpando, and adviser of the Foreign Ministry  Javier Guillermo. As noted at the ceremony, the signing of this memorandum is another step in the development of bilateral relations between Georgia and Mexico.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dimitri Kumsishvili: tourism marketing in social networks is more cost-efficient

05.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Tourism remains a priority area for Georgia, -  First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitri Kumsishvili said in an interview to Georgian newspaper Economic Palette.

"I can say explicitly and unequivocally that tourism is a priority area for us. We are well aware of importance of tourism development for the country and we will promote it in future. We realize  that development of  tourism industry means many jobs and a possibility  to fill our country's trade balance deficit. We met several times with representatives of tourist companies, "- Kumsishvili said.

Tourism business problems and ways of cooperation between government and private sector were discussed at recent meeting with representatives of  70 tour agencies  (read more here: Georgian government will support tourism sector)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Azerbaijani government: Baku-Tbilisi-Kars to be launched in 2013

Der Spiegel
04.12.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) The first train of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will be launched by the line at the end of 2013. The statement came from Deputy Minister of Transport of Azerbaijan Musa Panakhov today.

The project was originally to be completed by 2010,  later it was scheduled for completion by 2014.

Once completed,  BTK - called "Iron Silk Road" -  will begin at the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and travel through  Tbilisi, before carrying on to Kars, a Turkish town on the southwestern lip of the Caucasus region. In total 105 kilometers of new line will be built between Kars and Akhalkalaki, with 76 kilometers  within Turkey and 29 kilometers  in Georgia. The existing railway line from Akhalkalaki to Marabda and on to Tbilisi and Baku will be modernized. Its total length will be 826 kilometers (513 mi) and it will be able to transport 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the first stage. This capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and over 15 million tons of freight.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Goderdzi Pass resort to receive first visitors

04.12.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). Goderdzi Pass will be able to get the first visitors from the end of December.

Construction of Goderdzi Pass mountain ski resort is carried with financial support of Austrian Government. Agreeement on over  € 10 million was signed by the Minister of Economy and Finance of Georgia Dimitry Gvindadze and the Manager of UniCredit Bank Austria AC Florence Werdisheim in June 1012. Works are implemented by the Austrian company Doppelmayr.

“Goderdzi Resorts” director Vazha Diasamidze explained that from the end of the month it will be possible to use a cableway   and in the first phase 9 gondolas for  8 persons will be operational, to carry 250 people per hour. A total of 68 gondolas can be  installed  and, as Diasamidze notes, it will depend on  demand.

Holiday Inn to offer package tours

Photo: The Financial 
04.12.2012. Holiday Inn is increasing the number of its rooms by adding one more floor to boost its current capacity. The hotel is currently the biggest in Georgia operating with 252 guest rooms. Holiday Inn does host "leisure" travelers,  but the majority of its guests are business delegations. The owner company of Holiday Inn Tbilisi founded the first Georgian hotel brand ‘Rooms’ in 2012 and the first Rooms hotel has now opened in Kazbegi.

“We are growing considerably and this means that tourism in general in Georgia is on the path of significant development,” Valeri Chekheria, CEO of Adjara+ Limited, the owner company of Holiday Inn Tbilisi, reported The Financial. “As well as the success of Holiday Inn Tbilisi, we have created the first Georgian hotel brand - Rooms. Our group has the burning ambition to make it a brand equal to international standards and operating with local concept. Today the first Rooms hotel, located in Kazbegi, the mountainous region of Georgia, is up and running and meeting all international standards. The hotel has already gained great popularity with both local and foreigner travellers. There is a Casino and various venues to host variety of events. A swimming pool and spa will be opened soon. All these facilities come with a great view over Mkinvari. This makes the place especially outstanding and stunning.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

"Chateau Mukhrani" to invest 8 million EUR in tourism

03.12.2012.  Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni-Bagrationi’s estate with its gardens, stable, antique cellars, Georgian and European restaurants, exhibition halls, wedding house,  suites, amphitheater  and more will open to tourists by August 2013.

Today the Bagrationi Estate in Mukhrani, located 35 km from Tbilisi, is already hosting visitors with its offers of exclusive wine tasting, lunch or dinner with a range of tasty Georgian dishes, horse riding, churchkhela-making, traditional Georgian bread-baking and chacha distillation.

Bagrationi estate in Mukhrani was a  center for the Georgian cultural elite in the 19th century. Ivane Mukhranbatoni, a well educated and talented landlord was famed for his winemaking. Even in the 19th century Mukhrani wines were very popular in Georgia as well as abroad.

Silk Road Group rules out law violations in Trump Tower and hotels in Adjara

02.12.2012. Silk Road Group rules out the facts of law violations may be revealed in connection with Trump Tower project. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the company stated that the area where the Batumi Tower is planned to be built was purchased from Adjara government.

According to Alexander Topuria, the tender was completed in full compliance with the law, the territory has been acquired in accordance with the market price and the project doesn’t require any checking. The new government of Adjara doesn’t rule out that Silk Road Group bought the territory from Batumi City Hall with violations - at the price that is lower than the current market price.

Along with that, the Ministry of Economy of Adjara had launched administrative proceedings against the company due to non-implementation of investment projects. As for the new complexes that had to be built on the territory of Meskheti and Media hotels until 2011, Topuria adds that on the basis of one of them Radisson hotel was opened despite the global crisis and the 2008 Georgia - Russian war. The company is ready to pay a penalty for failure to fulfill obligations in terms of the second project. In Topuria’s words, since 2006 Silk Road Group has invested in total 100 million USD in Adjara.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tourism is top priority for Adjara's government

Photo: Adjara TV
by Nino Edilashvili

02.12.2012. After the Georgian Dream coalition won the local elections in the Adjara Autonomous Republic, the new Georgian Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, nominated Archil Khabadze as the new head of the autonomous republic. Prior to this appointment, Khabadze was the regional head of Qartu Bank in Batumi. On October 30 local legislative body of the autonomous republic - Supreme Council - elected Khabadze with 13 votes.

With extensive experience in the banking sector, Khabadze, 31, thinks that he has skills to better manage the Adjara region. Apart from Qartu Bank, Khabadze also held senior positions at Georgian Maritime Bank and Intellect Bank– both in Batumi.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kazakh President to open Likani Sanatorium in Georgia

01.12.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will attend opening ceremony of the Likani Sanatorium during his official visit to Georgia in February 2013.

Therapeutic and wellness complex Likani in Borjomi was purchased by Kazakh company KazMunayGas in May of 2006 for 10 million dollars. The sanatorium was shortly closed for reconstruction. It has now been rebuilt.

The KazMunayGas subsidiary - KMG-service - is the operator of Likani project. According to KMG-Service, Kazakh party has invested around 6.5 million dollars in the project.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)