Thursday, May 9, 2013

FlyGeorgia eyes Gulf market

09.05.2013. Newly-established FlyGeorgia Airline plans to expand its operations in Gulf to boost tourism in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

One of the newest airlines in the aviation sector, which has three weekly flights on Tbilisi-Dubai-Tbilisi route, will increase its frequency to four per week from this summer and target a daily service by next year.

“We are keen to buildup a strong route network in Gulf to boost tourism in Georgia,” airline’s director of media relations Tannaz Hosseinpour told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market.

Privately-owned Georgian airline aims at connecting the CIS state with the world to support its development of tourism, economic growth, and popularisation of the country. It is the only airline with an Airbus fleet flying out of Tbilisi International airport and has established 10 routes in three continents in less than six months.  “We are set to launch new services in Gulf, Europe and other Asian destinations to expand the airline’s network. The airline has ambitious plans for the near future,” Hosseinpour said.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Travel to Alaverdi in Georgia and enjoy a wine-tasting holiday with a difference

25.04.2013. Alaverdi Monestry produces 30,000 litres of wine a year using the old qvevri method. At my table are nine people. Eight have long beards and are strictly religious. They are priests and bishops. The other is me. All of us have a glass of yellow wine and are toasting… I am not sure what.

Inside the Alaverdi Monastery, in the heart of the Kakheti wine region, are bottles and bottles of wine that have been researched, studied and cultivated here since the 11th century. Bishop David stands up with the slightest of wobbles. He has engaging black eyes and a raw-boned frame. He is still youthful but this fact is disguised by a long, wispy beard.

Bishop David speaks eloquently about the monastery’s history, or so I’m told. I have no understanding of the language, so snippets are translated for me. Bishop David stands at the head of the table as the ‘tamada’ (toastmaster), elected to toast and maintain discipline. This ancient ritual of host has been preserved throughout Georgian history and continues here, as Bishop David delivers a lament on wine production and the responsibility of the monastery as a wine academy. ‘Wherever there are monks, there is wine being made,’ he says.

The recently excavated eighth-century cellar has been restored and the monastery produces more than 30,000 litres of wine a year under its own label using the qvevri method – which uses a large earthenware vessel to ferment wine – as well as modern methods that use stainless-steel fermentation containers.

Friday, April 19, 2013

15th International Tourism Exhibition in Tbilisi

by Baia Dzagnidze

With the goal of promoting Georgia as tourist destination, the 15th International Tourism Fair and 2nd Caucasus Incentive, Business Travel and Meeting Exhibition set up a meeting place for local and foreign tour operators and enabled them to present information to an audience on April 12-14.

ExpoGeorgia, an exhibition center in Tbilisi, hosted the event, uniting around 100 exhibitors from various countries including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

“The tourism fair is one of the traditional projects for the center,” says project manager Nino Gamrekeli. “Every year, visitors get a feel for what the current trends are in the tourism sector. This year’s exhibition presents the most diverse touristic products compared to previous years,” she said, adding that the visitor can obtain detailed information on interesting touristic destinations.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Georgia, Cradle of Wine (IWTC 2013)

by Jochen Erler

15.04.2013. This was the title of the closing plenary session at the International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop in Croatia 2013 (read more here), and was made by the Georgian National Tourism Administration and the Georgian National Wine Agency. They gave an introduction to the wine industry of their country which has the longest history of uninterrupted wine production in the world. While under the Soviet regime emphasis was given to the volume of output, and this on a surface of 150.000 ha, nowadays only 40.000 ha are covered by productive vineyards. Quality of the wine has increased considerably since having lost the Russian market for the past few years and having established a foothold in other markets.

The development of wine tourism is one of the key targets of Georgia’s Government which has established an ambitious program of education and training for all manpower involved in the wine tourism industry. For each category of stakeholders, such as restaurant staff, winery staff, tour leaders and managerial staff specific and very detailed criteria have been laid down to ensure competence and professionalism for these people.

In addition, the existing wine festivals will receive support and further development. The highlight of the presentation was the announcement that Georgia will be the host country for next year’s (2014) International Wine Tourism Conference. The auditorium responded spontaneously by applauding this announcement. See you there in 2014!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bidzina Ivanishvili: Georgia cannot live thanks to tourism only

11.04.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News).  Georgia cannot live thanks to tourism only, - Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stated during a meeting with the editors of television channels  and printed medias on April 10.

In his words,  he doesn't  agree with the previous government's "obsession" that tourism will save our country. "Tourism will be  one of business directions, and not the core as the previous government considered," - Ivanishvili said.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Saveur": Everlasting feast: Food in the Republic of Georgia

By Karen Shimizu

09.04.2013. In the Republic of Georgia, bold, unique flavors, ancient methods of winemaking, and epic meals are at the center of a way of life. I've thought about this meal so many times now that the memory of it feels like a dream: I'm seated at a table whose surface I can no longer see—it has disappeared entirely underneath dozens of overlapping plates. There are only six of us, but the food laid out could easily feed 30. There are loaves of bread; plates of white, salty sulguni cheese; platters of peppery raw radishes, pickled tomatoes, and palate-freshening parsley, tarragon, and green onions; earthenware dishes called ketsi filled with grilled mushrooms and fried potatoes; jars of fresh yogurt and little bowls of rose petal jam and honey to add to it; bottles of tarragon soda; and pitchers of wine, some purple-black saperavi and others amber, apricot-scented rkatsiteli.

It's early autumn, and I'm in a town called Bodbiskhevi in Kakheti, the easternmost region of the Republic of Georgia. We're an hour into a dinner in the backyard of Gela Patalashvili, a winemaker here. His vineyards stretch for miles in every direction. If I squint, the tawny, arid landscape, thickly planted with grapevines and dotted with pomegranate and cypress trees, reminds me of Tuscany—that is, if Tuscany were bordered by the snowcapped Caucasus Mountains and home to a 7,000-year-old winemaking tradition. Gathered around the table are my husband, Chris, and a handful of Georgian and American expat friends. After a day of helping Gela pick plums from his orchards, we've been invited to join him for dinner, which, as dinners tend to do in Georgia, has turned into a several-hour feast called a supra (meaning "tablecloth" for the way the food covers the table), a celebratory meal involving structured toasts, wine, song, and lots and lots of food.

Monday, April 8, 2013

More Polish tourists visiting Georgia

08.04.2013. The number of Polish tourists visiting Georgia increased by 94 percent in 2013 compared to the same period of 2012, according to the Georgian Tourism Association.

About 21,000 Polish tourists visited Georgia in 2012. The majority of them visited the country in the summer.

An increase was observed compared to 2011 as well, when just 12,103 polish tourists visited Georgia, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia. In total 5,053,046 people arrived in Georgia that year. Among them, 2,233,589 were citizens of Georgia and 2,819,457 - the citizens of other countries.

The number of tourists that have visited Tbilisi from Poland since January 2013 is 634.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs talks about tourism in Georgia

05.04.2013. Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs has recently published travel recommendations for the world's countries.

The first category is those countries that are inadvisable to visit at all. The second category is those countries that are not recommended unless there is an urgent need. The third category is countries which are generally safe to travel in except for certain territories. The fourth is those countries where tourists should take certain safety measures, and fifth category is those countries where traveling is very safe.

Georgia is in the third group together with Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to the Canadian Foreign Ministry's list the U.S.A. Chile, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are among the safest countries to visit in the world.


"The Guardian": Doing the chacha

Photo: Vano Shlamov/Getty
by Dan Peleschuk

05.04.2013. A few shots of the national drink allow travellers to gaze on Tbilisi with fresh eyes. Our guide, Lasha, couldn't find any other words: "Have a couple shots," he kept saying with a wry smile, "and you'll be set."

All afternoon, Lasha's attempts to describe the taste, strength and effects of chacha – Georgia's national spirit – had left us intrigued. We had spent the day touring the picturesque south Caucasian country, known for its majestic peaks, savoury cuisine and the hospitality of its locals. And Lasha, naturally, served as our source for all matters of local history and culture. But whenever the conversation turned toward chacha, a predominantly grape-based liquor reputed for its flavour and strength, he seemed at a loss for words.

So in the evening, as we headed back towards the capital of Tbilisi, a forlorn, roadside mess hut caught our attention. "Maybe they have it," Lasha wondered aloud as we pulled over.

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)