Wednesday, June 26, 2013

National Tourism Administration takes part in Georgian-Israeli business forum

26.06.2013. (Hvino Tour News) Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) is represented in the Georgian-Israeli Open Business Forum in Tel Aviv.

The Forum was opened on June 25 by Georgia's prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The event is organized by National Investment Agency of Georgia, Georgian Embassy in Israel and the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute.

National Tourism Administration continues wide marketing campaign in Israel this year to increase flow of tourists and maintain popularity of Georgia. The marketing campaign in 2012 resulted in 21% rise of number of tourists from Israel to Georgia. In 2011 there were 25 438 visitors from Israel, in 2012 – 30 755, in the first three months of 2013 – 3813 visitors.

GNTA's head Giorgi Sigua will meet with his Israeli counterpart and with other officials. Meetings with marketing and PR companies are also scheduled.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

President of Georgia attended Kartli Wine Festival

26.06.2013 (Hvino News) The President of Georgia attended Kartli Wine Festival 2013, which was held at the rehabilitated Castle District in the Georgian town of Gori. Mikheil Saakashvili spoke with winemakers and noted that such events will assist popularization of the local wine, which will give farmers more income.

The President also met with winemakers whose vineyards were illegally left on the other side of the "barbwire" (the de facto border installed after 2008's war with Russia) in Dvani.

The Kartlian winemakers treated the President with wine pressed out of ancient vine varieties. Exhibition and sale of various handmade goods was also held within the scope of the wine festival. Mikheil Saakashvili symbolically bought handmade products by persons with limited abilities and took photos with them.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Five questions with first deputy minister Dimitry Kumsishvili

by Maia Edilashvili

25.06.2013. Dimitry Kumsishvili, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia shares the new government's vision and plans for development of the country's tourism sector.

Q: Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has said that tourism will be a significant sector but that its place will not be as prominent as it was before. What will that change mean for the tourism policy?

A: Tourism is a priority field for our government. As you know, the development of this field helps increase employment, facilitates the development of small and medium sized businesses, boosts budget revenues, and encourages regional development.

There are fundamental changes underway in this direction: a council of advisors has been set up that unites representatives of businesses- a step which aims to increase their engagement in the decision-making process; work is in progress on the tourism development strategy whereby, taking into account recommendations provided in the framework of EU twinning project - an institutional building tool -, a law on tourism will be drafted and works will be launched to establish regional management organizations. Changes are planned in the marketing area as well.

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Counting tourists in Georgia

23.06.2013. The former Georgian government used simple math to increase the number of tourists. Every single person crossing the Georgian border was considered a tourist, whereas many people, in particular truck drivers, are transit visitors who do not spend a single night in Georgia.

Therefore, to calculate the real number of tourists in Georgia, the authorities have started to distinguish between tourists and transit visitors.

As a result the National Agency of Tourism has made certain figures available; it appears that only 57% of people entering Georgia are actually tourists. The authorities distinguish between three types of visitors to the country: transit passengers; people who are visiting Georgia for holidays and those who are visiting families and friends. Popular destinations for tourists include Tbilisi, Batumi, Marneuli, Mtskheta, etc. In the first quarter of 2013 up to one million foreigners entered Georgia. This figure is higher than in the same period for last year.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration presented new tourism strategy

by Nino Edilashvili

21.06.2013. The number of foreign visitors in Georgia increased 30% from last year and the expectation is that by the end of 2013, growth will total 37%, this according to Giorgi Sigua, the newly appointed head of the state-run Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA). His prediction is that this year more than five million foreign visitors, including 700, 000 visitors from Russia, will come to Georgia.

The position of the GNTA’s head was vacant for five months after Maia Sidamonidze, the previous head of the GNTA resigned in January of 2013.

On June 18, Dimitry Kumsihvili, the Deputy Economy Minister introduced Sigua to the media and business community representatives, saying that Sigua was an appropriate choice for this position. “He speaks five languages and we hope that he will be able to implement innovative projects together with the experienced group at the GNTA, as well as promote Georgia as a tourism destination worldwide,” Kumsishvili said.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

57% of visitors to Georgia Jan-Mar 2013 were tourists

20.06.2013. 57 percent of foreigners who crossed the border into Georgia in first quarter of 2013 were tourists, according to the first result of a report conducted by the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

Giorgi Sigua, head of the administration, said while presenting the report at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel that the remaining share of visitors are people who didn’t stay in the country for more than a day.

The presentation was attended by representatives of tour operators, hotels, restaurants and air companies.

Sigua noted that Georgia still doesn’t have a strategy for tourism, but there are already plans to implement certain structural changes, and to set up regional management organizations, while lawyers are working on preparing a law on tourism.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wine and outhouses, Racha-Style

by Alice Feiring

19.06.2013. First, where is Racha? Northwest of Georgia (no, not Atlanta). Not far from Imeriti. Gorgeous. Rich in terroir; iron, carbon, granite, slate, marcasite, quartz,  limestone of all colors that is crawling with ancient crustaceans. The place is a raw nerve of terroir.

Yet the mountainous, pulse-stoppingly beautiful highland-like region is gravely under-utilized and way too poor. This, Georgia's smallest wine region with no bottle-ready wine maker currently on the market--is a  land in need of champion. No foreign star winemaker such as Raul Perez/Telmo Rodriguez is on the horizon. Given my prejudice about wine, this is a good thing.

But some of Georgia's best,  committed to making wine close to nature--like Imertian Ramaz Nikoladze, or Kartlians Niki Antadze and Iago Bitarishvili or Khaketian Gela Patalishvili--could help some of the home talent wanting to come to local and foreign tables.  But right now these local superstars are also struggling to make a dream happen-- as all were born in Soviet times when there no dreams were allowed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Rezidor Group VP: More about Georgia

Photo: The Financial
18.06.2013. The Rezidor Hotel Group, the managing company of Radisson Blu hotels in Tbilisi and Batumi, would like to have up to ten hotels in Georgia. Tom Flanagan, Area Vice President of the Rezidor Hotel Group, currently residing in Moscow, has said that good relations with Russia are essential for the development of tourism in Georgia. Mr. Flanagan spoke with The Financial last Wednesday at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, where Rezidor Hotel Group held its regional conference in Tbilisi .

“Due to the increasing level of business activity as well as development of Georgia’s meetings facilities that meet international standards such as at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi , the demand for Georgia as the business destination and event’s venue is growing” said Flanagan.

“The more positive relations with Russia of late are a very exciting part of the potential in Georgia. This is unbelievably positive progress for the country. We see the tourism figures of arrivals for the country jumping and Russians are starting to contribute to that. So, these growth figures are extremely important for the hotels as a feeder,” said Mr. Flanagan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

IWINETC Georgia 2014: Early bird registration announced

16.06.2013. If you are in the tourism or wine industry, prepare yourself for the 6th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference to take place in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The conference is scheduled for March 28-29, 2014. The conference is geared toward travel agents, wineries, restaurants, bloggers, writers and more. Up to 300 wine, culinary and travel professionals and wine and travel social and traditional media professionals will gather from throughout the world to meet, learn, and share at this, the sixth annual conference for the wine and culinary tourism industry.

30 places will be allocated to active wine and travel bloggers with a massive 60% discount on the price of the two day event. The Conference will include around 30 talks and workshops with an exhibition area to include wine tourism destinations not only in and around Georgia but also in grape escape destinations around the world. The popular evening After Conference programme will include the Grand Wines of Georgia Tasting and there will be smaller tastings of wines from neigbouring countries as well as a wine tasting from the 2015 host country!

Bloggers will also have the opportunity to participate in pre and post conference tours to the nearby Kakheti wine region where they will discover the world’s oldest wine culture and the unique qvevri tradition of clay pots used to create delicious, unfiltered, organic wines.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Georgian carrier, Eurasian Airways, eyes Europe-Asia market

12.06.2013 (Hvino Tour News) Eurasian Airways is a new Georgian airline that plans to use Tbilisi as an intermediate hub for passenger and cargo flights between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, reports Swiss aviation resource ch-aviation. Eurasian Airways will also aim to "incorporate the rapidly expanding markets in the Caspian, Black Sea and Caucasus region markets." At this point in time, however, no exact network or fleet plans have been divulged.

Eurasian Airways has a registered domain name (domain owner's name is Nikoloz  Medzmariashvili), bu the site is currently unreachable. HTN could not find additional information.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Flow of tourists in Mestia grows after a failed winter season

07.06.2013 (Hvino Tour News) Flow of visitors increased by 50% compared to previous months. After a failed winter season the local hoteliers talk about increased number of visitors.

According to  the administration of Tetnuldi hotel,  compared with the previous months,  the number of tourists has  increased by 50%.  Summer season is already open and 40% of rooms are booked. Japanese, French and German tourists prevail over locals in the resort. The hotel management says that prices are similar to last year: a price of a single rooms is 140GEL, while a double room costs 180 GEL. This price includes two meals a day as well.

Mestia Hotel also talks about increase of visitors. The hotel management notes that compared with
the previous months the flow of visitors increased by 50%. As for the prices, Mestia's management reduced prices to attract clients, and a double room now costs 100 GEL instead of 120 GEL.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Giorgi Sigua appointed as new head of Georgian Tourism Administration

07.06.2013 (Hvino Tour News) Giorgi Sigua was appointed as head of the National Tourism Administration of Georgia. He was presented by First Deputy Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili.

Previously Mr. Sigua was member of Georgian parliament, where he was deputy chairman of Committee on regional policy.

Position of head of the National Tourism Administration has been vacant since January 2013, after Maya Sidamonidze's resignatuion (see Director of National Tourism  Agency leaves her post)

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Number of foreign visitors of Georgia grew by 32% over first months of 2013

06.06.2013. During the first four months of 2013, the number of international travellers in the country amounted to 1,291,593, which is 32% more in comparison with the same period of 2012. The number was 978,521 in the same period of the previous year. Visitors from neighbouring countries occupy the largest share of these increased figures. Georgia plans to host over 5 million visitors by the end of 2013.

The number of incoming international travellers from neighbouring countries amounted to 1,159,009 which is 285,486 higher than in the first four months of last year (a 33% increase). The number of Russian travellers also increased this year. Georgia hosted 57,395 Russian travellers more this year, 77% more than in the same period of last year. Travellers from Ukraine, Egypt, Iraq and Iran also increased.

“Political stability, transportation, impressions from previous visits and marketing activities in which our administration is engaged are the main factors causing this increased number of international visitors,” according to Rusudan Mamatsashvili, Head of the Planning and Development Department at the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA).

Monday, June 3, 2013

New airline services opened from Tbilisi to Baghdad, Iraq, and to Simferopol, Ukraine

03.06.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News)On May 30 FlyGeorgia inaugurated Tbilisi – Baghdad service, with twice weekly operation on board Airbus A319 aircraft. The service will start from late May.

Ukrainian Air Onix from June 3th opens service between Tbilisi and Simferopol (Crimea, Ukraine).  It is also twice weekly operation, on board Boeing-737 aircraft.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Belavia opens Minsk-Kutaisi flight

29.05.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). The first regular flight Minsk-Kutaisi (Georgia)-Minsk was conducted by the national airline Belavia on 28 May, BelTA learnt from the press service of the air company.

The plane for Kutaisi left Minsk at 00h05 and touched down in the Georgian city at 3h50. The plane was back to the Belarusian capital at 6h35.

The flight to David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport will be operated three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) on CRJ-100/200 aircraft. The journey will take 2 hours 45 minutes in one direction.

Kutaisi International Airport played host to an official ceremony of opening the new flight. Attending the presentation were the management of the airport and the Belarusian air carrier. Deputy Director General for IT of the national air company Belavia Vladimir Barkun expressed confidence that the flight would promote an increase in direct and transit passengers traveling via Minsk to Europe and the CIS.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ukraine International Airlines performed first flight from Batumi Airport

28.05.2013 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). Ukraine International Airlines launched non-stop scheduled service Batumi – Kiev – Batumi.

Until the end of June 2013 new flights en route Batumi – Kiev – Batumi are operated thrice a week on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from Batumi to Kiev. Starting July 1, the frequency of flights on the route will be increased up to 4 weekly flights – besides the above mentioned ones Batumi – Kiev flights will be also operated on Thursdays, and starting July 10 UIA will operate 5 weekly flights between Batumi and Kiev: on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Within the promo campaign, the price of one-way ticket from Kiev to Batumi, purchased until May 31, will start from 37 Euro. Regular flights will be performed by B 737-500 type aircraft, and will deliver passengers from Kiev at 22:50 p.m. As for the departure, the flight from Batumi Airport to Kiev will be carried out at 06:45 a.m. Flight duration is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

UIA offers direct service between Georgia and Ukraine, connecting the two countries with three direct scheduled flights per day: two daily flights between Tbilisi and Kiev and one daily flight en route Batumi – Kiev – Batumi.