Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tbilisi New Wine Festival date announced

30.03.2013 (Hvino News). The fourth festival of young wine will take place in Tbilisi on May 11.

Wine companies and individual producers will contribute to the annual event, which last year had attracted about 15 000 visitors. Wine Club and Municipality of Tbilisi are organizers of the festival. According to them, in 2013 there will be more individual producers represented at the festival.

The usual site of the open-air festival is Ethnographic Museum in Tbilisi. For 2012's festival report, see here.

© Hvino News

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why I'd Take Tbilisi Over Rome or Zurich

By Paul Rimple

25.03.2013. When CNN published a travel story earlier this month showing Tbilisi's ranking as one of the worst cities in the world, it sent locals in a tizzy. Georgians think Tbilisi is the bellybutton of the universe. It might be crazy, but that's part of its charm. Calling it inferior reflects a second-rate way of seeing the world.

The bogus ranking was reflected in the 2012 Quality of Living Survey by Mercer, a U.S.-based consulting firm. Mercer bases its criteria on factors such as safety, education, hygiene and political-economic stability in an effort to help multinational companies decide where to open shop and how much to pay employees.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Georgia becomes a tourist destination for Iraqis

by Giorgi Lomsadze

26.03.2013. In a move that emphasizes the South Caucasus country's emerging ties with the Middle East, Georgia’s largest carrier, Airzena Georgian Airways, has launched direct flights to Erbil, capital of the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan in Iraq.

Georgia and Iraq have visa-free travel and a growing number of Iraqis of late have been trekking out to Georgia by land or by connecting flights. After the number hit 7,000 last year, Airzena started negotiations with the government of Kurdistan over a direct air link.

The region's relative safety and the new money produced by the development of its energy resources seem to have motivated the pick of Erbil, but the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and the Kurdish cultural hub of Sulaymaniah are next on the list.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Georgia to host international wine tourism conference in 2014

22.03.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Georgia successfully participated in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) in Zagreb, Croatia, on 15 - 16 March, being also one of main sponsors of the Conference (read more: Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb and Georgian wines at IWINETC 2013 in Zagreb).

It was announced that next year, Georgia will be the host country for IWINETC '2014. A special presentation reflecting the trends of tourism development in Georgia as well as the capacity and infrastructure of wine tourism, was held at conference in Zagreb. It was noted that in recent years Georgia has made significant progress in the development of this type of tourism.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New ferry service between Derince (Turkey) and Poti (Georgia) launched

21.03.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Brand new ferry service between Derince (Turkey) and Poti (Georgia) launched with effect from March 14, 2013.

Railcars carrying both conventional and dangerous as well as off-gauge cargoes, trucks and cars, tracked vehicles, palletized and non-palletized deck cargoes are accepted for carriage.

The line is served with rail ferries «Geroi Shipki» and «Geroi Plevny» and offers fortnightly departures and all-the-year-round navigation.

Customers are additionally offered logistics and forwarding package which includes shipping railcars, vehicles and other cargoes from the port of Derince to the port of Poti and further to a destination in Central Asia or via the port of Derince to a destination in other major European ports both for inbound and outbound cargoes.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Georgia participates in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference in Zagreb

15.03.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia participates in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) in Zagreb, Croatia, on 15 - 16 March.  Georgia is also one of main sponsors of the Conference (read more: Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb).

On Saturday March 16th IWINETC closes with a tasting of Georgian wines. “Bolomde!” – bottoms up!

The first word most tourists to Georgia learn is “guamarjos!” – cheers! Long thought to be the birthplace of wine and supported by archaeologists finding wine vessels from 6000 years ago and ancient architecture with frescos of grape vines; this is a wine country.

Bringing wine made from Saperavi, Georgia’s most prominent red wine varietal identifiable by it’s pomegranate color and velvety structure, are wineries Winiveria, Khareba, and Shumi. Also taste Chateau Mukhrani’s Seperavi which delivers on mulberry, blackberry and cherry aromas.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"China Daily": A Vintage rebirth

by Ye Jun

Tucked in the Caucasus is an ancient tradition of wine making. Ye Jun sips across the sweet spots of Georgia.

Georgia is a country where humans first discovered the art of winemaking. One of the historic cradles of wine in the world, the country is revitalizing its viticulture and other traditions. A team of six journalists was invited by the Georgian Wine Agency recently to visit the vineyard regions of the country. At the airport, we are surprised and pleased to receive a small bottle of wine in a box that was labeled: "Welcome to the land of 8,000 vintages." The back of the box says the winemaking tradition of Georgia has "passed through generations for over 8,000 years".

Coming from a country with a 5,000-year-old civilization, we Chinese journalists are curious.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Georgia improved Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rating by 7 points

09.03.2013 (Hvino Tour News) The World Economic Forum (WEF) released 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) report, with Georgia advancing its positions from 73 to 66.

Russia worsened its positions, dropping from 59 to 63. Ukraine ranked 76th, Azerbaijan -78, Armenia - 79th. Details may be found here.

The analysts took into account such  factors as the state of the country's tourism sector, security, health, transport, culture, social security and the environment. Georgia’s competitiveness, in the overall, was evaluated of 4.10 points. Ratings leader - Switzerland has 5.66 points, while Haiti is in the bottom of the ranking with 2.59 points.

TTCI assessed 140 economies worldwide based on the extent to which they are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector. The report revealed that Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness, with Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore completing the top 10.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Over 200 thousand Russian tourists came to Georgia during last 6 months

02.03.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) The number of Russian tourists in Georgia is significantly increasing. According to National Tourism Agency, from September 2012 to February 2013, the number of Russian tourists in Georgia has exceeded 204 thousand, which is 72% more than in the same period a year ago.

“Elite Travel Tour'' agency confirms that  the inflow of Russian tourists  increased compared with last year saying that introduction of visa-free regime with Russia played a significant role.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bank of Georgia Research: Georgia's Tourism Sector - Seize the Opportunity

25.02.2012. Before heading off on adventure, prospective travelers typically search the web for the top things to do in a given country. Less than a decade ago, many travelers would have been impressed by Georgia's long history and rich culture but turned off by poor infrastructure and services. Georgia has since drastically improved accessibility and services, as well as the safety of attractions. Tourism is not a new concept for Georgia, rather a recollection of what it once was. During the Soviet period in late 80s, the country of then just 5.3mn (official statistics estimates current population at 4.5mn) hosted over 3mn visitors annually, including 250,000 from outside the USSR. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing unrest brought Georgia's tourism to a standstill and the number of visitors slipped to around 383,000 in 1999, with most coming from the CIS.

Since then, Georgia posted an impressive 22% CAGR in visitors over 2000-2012. The Lonely Planet travel guide recently named Georgia one of its top-10 Best Value Destinations for 2013 (details here). As the world steadily rediscovers Georgia as a real tourist destination, we believe the hospitality sector holds attractive investment opportunities. This is especially true for accommodation as the segment is already starting to see a shortage.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb

21.02.2013 (Hvino TOUR News). Georgia will participate in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC). The event will take place on 15 - 17 March in Zagreb, Croatia.

Dimitri Kumsishvili, First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, said that the event will be attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and the National Tourism Administration. Georgia's National Wine Agency and National Tourism Administration are the gold sponsors of Zagreb's conference.  Next year the conference will take place in Georgia, according to Mr. Kumsishvili.

Report "Wine Tourism Destination Georgia" will be presented by John Wurdeman, owner of Pheasant's Tears winery.

Georgian wine tasting will be held during the conference, scheduled for March 16. Represented wines will include Kondoli Vineyards Rkatsiteli 2009, Qvevri Traditional Kakhetian, Kisi & Chateau Mukhrani Reserve Du Prince 2007 Saperavi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tourism Advisory Council is set up to develop recommendations

20.02. 2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) is created in Georgia. According to the National Tourism Administration, the Council is created upon the initiative of  private sector representatives operating in tourism industry. They explain that the goal of the Advisory Council is to discuss the global issues in tourism industry. In addition, the Council will develop recommendations aimed at the right direction establishment and their implementation for tourism development.

The First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili and directors of Georgian National Tourism Agency and tourism associations signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the 20th of February on the basis of which Tourism Advisory council was set up for the first time in Georgia, according to official release of Ministry.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Flow of Russian Tourists to Georgia

18.02.2013. From September 2012 till February 2013 the number of Russian tourists in Georgia increased by 72% compared to the same period of the year before. During the past five months Georgia has hosted 204,495 Russian visitors, of which almost half are friends and relatives of Georgian residents.

The number of Russian tourists in Georgia during the same period of 2011/2012 was 119,053.

“41% of Russian residents come to Georgia to visit friends and family,” Rusudan Mamatsashvili, Head of the Planning and Development Department at Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), told The Financial. “Leisure and recreation is the main purpose of foreign nationals when visiting Tbilisi . Thirty-two percent of Russians visited Georgia for leisure and recreation while 5% travelled for business,” Mamatsashvili said.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tourism? What tourism? - Svaneti

by Tony Hanmer

17.02.2013. I was in Mestia a week ago, and stopped in at the Tourism Centre in Seti Square. They’re usually a good source for recent copies of Georgia Today.

But the latest copies now are from December 2012 – itself a bad sign. And the tourism numbers are far, far down from this time a year ago. If anyone should know, it’s the people in this place. But so says everyone else I’ve asked – owners of a couple of guest houses in the town, my neighbour who was skiing at Hatsvali recently, and others. One of the December 2011 copies of GT which I have even projects a much more optimistic figure for current tourists – about 60,000 expected for 2013.

So, what’s happening? People say that Ivanishvili has declared that Georgia doesn’t need as many tourists as it has been getting recently. Is this a true quote? I turned to Google for an answer, and this is what I found: nothing – in English, anyway – to support this claim.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

RyanAir plans to enter Georgia

05.02. 2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). Irish company RyanAir, one of Europe’s lowest cost airlines, still considers an opportunity to enter Georgia. One of the founders of the company said at  London conference that RyanAir considered Israel and Georgia as potential markets.

Michael Kors names reasons, which may lead to their interest in Georgia. "This is a country with a very liberal economy,  and Hungarian WizzAir has already flied there,” - he noted.

Earlier, president Mikheil Saakashvili also expressed wish to bring the Irish airline to Georgia.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tourism companies talk about withdrawal of state support

30.01.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) Tourism companies note lack of activity of Georgia's tourism authorities. GeoHotel, a company that runs a 3 – star hotel chain across the country stated to radio Commersant that GeoHotel has had almost no visitors since January 8. Shalva  Alaverdashvili notes that there is a lack of visitors  in  Gudauri, because unlike last year, there is no support from the state.

He explains that Mestia as a winter tourism destination no longer exists and they are going to stop a hotel functioning  in Mestia. Alaverdashvili says that tourism development will  be stopped without state support and advertisement of various resorts which signs have already existed. According to him, they applied to  Ministry of Economy in order to  develop hotels and projects in regions, however, received a reply from the Deputy Minister that the companies working in regions lacked the education and experience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

British Airways leaves Georgia

29.01.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News) According to the Tbilisi office of the company, the last flight on the route Tbilisi-London will be operated on March 29, and starting March 31, the airline officially ceases operations in Georgia. The decision to leave Georgia was made by the British Airways for commercial reasons. The airline states that Tbilisi-London and London-Tbilisi flights are unprofitable.

British Airways returned to Georgia after a hiatus in 2012.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Guria airport construction suspended

29.01.2013. Work on the project has been suspended. As Ozurgeti Economy, Infrastructure and Investment Environment Department  Chief Merab Tsivtsivadze explains, last August Turkish and Arab specialists arrived in Georgia and conducted  survey works, but since then not a single investor or any other person interested in Gurian airport has visited  the village of Meria.

"Working on the project was started, but this time the work is officially suspended,”- Tsivtsivadze notes.

President Mikheil Saakashvili said about the need to build the airport in the village of Meria. " In September a large international airport will be opened in Kutaisi. We must begin to build an airport in Guria, in particular, in the village of Meria. Georgia, in terms of airports, will be one of the most developed countries in the world ", - he said.