Monday, February 24, 2014

Tskaltubo Spa Resort to become the hub of medical tourism

24.02.2014. Tskaltubo spa resort in western part of Georgia is cited to become region’s medical tourism hub.

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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Aeroflot" Returns to Georgia

20.02.2014 (Hvino TOUR News). Negotiations between Tbilisi airport operator TAV Georgia  and Russian airline Aeroflot completed successfully. Russian aviation giant will start service in Georgia in April.

It is assumed that the flights will be operated every day. The company will carry them on Airbus A 320.

In early January, Aeroflot said that the company's entry to the Georgian market is questionable and the final decision is still pending. As a result of negotiations with the Georgian side, eventually the issue was resolved positively. Aeroflot stopped service to Georgia after the 2008 war.

© Hvino TOUR News

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Georgia’s qvevri wine trending in America

by Tamar Khurtsia

19.02.2014. A new trend is emerging in America – to drink orange wine, which is a special Georgian ghvino variation. Georgian woman Vera Person Sagareishvili, who is the managing director of Corporate Accounts at Panorama Travel (a New York-based travel agency), believes more Americans could enjoy Georgia’s Qvevri wine but the product needs to promote this most cherished wine-making method among them.

Pearson Sagareishvili emigrated to the United States of America 18 years ago. Within her role with Panorama Travel, she closely works with the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), a Governmental body responsible to develop tourism and attract American tourists to Georgia. interviewed Vera Pearson Sagareishvili and asked her about Georgia’s developing hospitality sector, the major challenges within the industry, the characteristics of American travelers and what attracts them to Georgia.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Georgia to resume financing the country’s promotion in 2014

18.02.2014. In 2014, Georgia will participate in 18 international exhibitions and will spend GEL 9 million on marketing activities across 12 different countries. The budget of Georgia’s main tourism agency increased twofold compared to 2013 amounting to GEL 12,653,000 this year. Countries where marketing campaigns are planned include parts of Western Europe and the former USSR.

“By 2035 Europe’s public debt is expected to be 135% of the GDP in countries around the world. That means that they will not have enough money to invest in everything they want. Can the Government afford to pay for tourism infrastructure anymore?” asks Andrew Coxshall, Managing Partner of KPMG in Georgia and Armenia.

“Everyone sees that public debt has not hampered financing of the tourism sector and Georgia does not face such a risk in the foreseeable future,” said Giorgi Sigua, head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration. “There are good examples of such tourism destinations as Great Britain, Germany and France, where they have large amounts of public debt, still allocating enough money to finance tourism development,” Sigua commented.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

International wine tourism conference has its sights set on Georgia, Sakartvelo

by Terry Sullivan

Wine tourism is becoming more defined as people become aware of the vast number of wine regions throughout the world. Even with this increased perception amongst wine travelers, it is not uncommon to hear, “I didn’t know they made wine there.” I’ve heard this many times about the country Georgia, the site for the sixth International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC). The conference takes place in Tbilisi March 29th and 30th. Why would an international conference choose a country to host an event that many people do not even know where it is located?

The country Georgia is an obvious choice for a wine tourism conference. Many people who drink wine will at least occasionally think about the wine, the grapes, the producer, the vineyards, the wine region and perhaps the history of the region. Some may observe the wine in a glass and ponder, “Where was wine first made?” The answer lies in the country Georgia. Wine has been continuously produced in Georgia for 8,000 years. That is thousands of years before wines were produced in Greece, Italy and France. Grapes were cultivated in Georgia for thousands of years. The country has a most impressive wine history. What does it offer wine tourists?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Georgia is the Country of Life" is the new tourism slogan

12.02.2014 (Hvino TOUR News). The National Tourism Administration launches the newest tourism slogan “Georgia is a country of life", according to the Head of the National Tourism Administration Giorgi Sigua. He says that Georgia is a country that offers tourists the best local cuisine, wine and nature. He notes that we can offer a lot of activities that attract tourists.

Sigua claims that the Administration expects a 18 percent growth of tourists in 2014. This means that more than 6 million international visitors will visit Georgia. Sigua adds, however, there is still a lot of work to do. For example, Georgia should develop hotels.

In Sigua’s words, in 2014 the administration will spend 8.9 million GEL for marketing activities to strengthen the positive image of Georgia. This is almost three times more than was spent in 2013. Sigua explains that the ads will be launched in 12 countries. These are Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, Austria , the Netherlands, Azerbaijan and so on. A total of 4.5 million GEL will be spent for this purpose. He informs that around 2 million GEL will be spent for participation in international exhibitions. Half a million will be spent to bring foreign journalists to Georgia.

Levan Koberidze, head of, calls the Administration's slogan "a little unclear", claiming why Georgia is the country of life and not, for example, Japan or Croatia. Koberidze notes that it can be specified in the concept, but at this point it's unclear.

© Hvino TOUR News

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Armenia, Georgia to sign new agreement to resume cooperating in tourism

09.02.2014. Armenian government approved Thursday signing of an agreement with Georgian government for cooperation in tourism area.

Armenian Economy Minister Vahram Avanesyan, presenting the matter to other ministers at today’s Cabinet meeting, said the countries governments signed a similar agreement in 1993 for ten years.

“The agreement term has already expired and in fact, by signing this new agreement we resume our cooperation with Georgia in tourism area,” he said.

According to Georgia’s interior ministry, some 1.28 million Armenian citizens visited Georgia in 2013. Armenia is the second largest provider of travelers to Georgia.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Georgia and Armenia: a spiritual journey ("The Telegraph")

by Peter Hughes

08.02.2014. In the unfamiliar, stricken landscape of Georgia and Armenia, Peter Hughes satisfies his thirst for spiritual history among a surprising wealth of significant sacred sites.

For the people who live there, the upheavals in the Middle East have been disastrous. But for travellers they have also placed many of the region’s great archaeological sites out of bounds, leaving big blanks in the atlas of cultural tours.

Yet one site’s quarantine is another’s discovery, and holidaymakers in need of their annual history fix are casting around for new lands and new epochs for their edification. It was in that prospecting spirit that I went to Transcaucasia and the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Georgia. They were two countries that hitherto had not loomed large on my list of places to go. I was wrong.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

122 714 tourists arrived to Georgia in January

06.02.2014. In January 2014, 319 400 tourists crossed border of Georgia. Growth is mentioned in comparison with December (391 724 visitors) - 6% reduction was mentioned in December.

Ministry of Internal Affairs informs that in comparison with the same period of last year growth is 14,1%  (280 023).

Like in previous months, in the reporting period majority of the visitors - 96 434 persons crossed border from Turkey, although growth is negative.

Out of the total number of the visitors 122 714 are tourists, 53 241 - transit passengers.

IWINETC in Tbilisi offers special discounts

05.02.2014. IWINETC 2014, the International meeting place for the wine and culinary tourism industry has announced a range of special offers and discounts for all attendees of the event, which will take place in Tbilisi Marriott, Georgia from 29 – 30 March 2014. Discounts available here.

Participants of IWINETC will also be able to take advantage of discounted accommodation during their time in Tbilisi. Attendees can secure reduced rates at the both the Tbilisi Marriott and the nearby Courtyard Marriott.

To find out more about the benefits of attending IWINETC 2014 as a conference delegate and to register, please visit

Tour operators or travel agents specialized in wine and culinary tourism or considering adding this lucrative product to their portfolio could be eligible to attend IWINETC as an Invited Buyer. To find out more, please view the info for the Wine Tourism Meet Up and Fam Trip.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Georgia Spent $1,000 on country’s promotion in 2013

04.02.2014. The Georgian Government spent nothing on advertising campaigns in the second half of 2013. The sum spent on this direction in the first half of 2013 amounted to GEL 1,870. In 2010, 225 international publications reported on Georgia. By comparison, the figure was 59 in 2013. Experts involved in PR consulting suggest that officials keep up a constant promotional campaign in order to ensure their own as well as the country’s reputation.

The number of tourists visiting Georgia increased by 21% in 2013 compared to the previous year. The total number of visitors last year was 5,365,356, up from 4,428,221 in 2012. The number of tourists has been increasing for the last 5 years thanks to significant investments in the tourism sector, especially in hotels and the infrastructure of the Black Sea and mountain resorts. But experts believe the recent tendency of reducing the amount of advertising of the country will worsen the situation again.

“The support of foreign media is important for the country’s image. The reduction in the number of articles will impact on the awareness of the country internationally,” Givi Khachapuridze, Director at PR Consulting Group, told The Financial. “Considering the political factor, radical forces will get the opportunity to evoke negative information about the Government. The decreased coverage in international publications has already become an obstacle for the Government and the country’s image,” Khachapuridze believes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Georgia participates in the international tourist exhibition „FITOUR 2014"

25.01.2014. From January 22, 24 to January 26 National Tourism Administration of Georgia participates in the international tourism exhibition-fair „FITUR 2014" in Madrid, Spain.

Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development informs that the exhibition is one of the large-scale ones in the world, 10 644 companies of 166 countries participate in it. 7 532 journalists attend it and it has about 124 700 visitors. Georgia participates in this exhibition for the 7th year.

In addition to National Tourism Administration, stand of Georgia will also include following companies: Visit Georgia, Georgica Travel, Georgian Discovery Tours, Caucasus Travel and Concord Travel.

Spain is one of the target tourism markets for Georgia. According to statistic, from 2013 to 2013 (data of 11 months 2013) number of tourists increased by 26% from Spain.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Discover Georgia in Denmark

Ambassador Nikoloz Rtveliashvili, Director of 
Discover Georgia Nino Kekelidze and Tamar 
Kakhidze, Georgian Tourism National 
24.01.2014. On January 17-19 Copenhagen hosted the Ferie and Fritid travel fair, at which, alongside other holiday and leisure industry representatives from around the world, the Georgian tourism company Discover Georgia was represented. The Georgian company presented to the fair visitors with all kinds of tours throughout Georgia including sea, mountain, wine, and biking tours.

The fair was attended by the Georgian Ambassador in Denmark Nikoloz Rtveliashvili. According to him, the number of visitors from Denmark to Georgia is increasing year to year. According to the official data in 2011, 1,500 tourists visited Georgia, in 2012 – 2,200 tourists. The ambassador says that there is no official information for 2013 regarding the number of tourists, although he is sure that their number is even more than in 2012.

Director of Discover Georgia Nino Kekelidze believes that this fair will bring success to her company and attract more tourists from Denmark and its neighboring countries to Georgia.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Georgia to open new winter resort Tetnuldi by 2016

03.01.2014. A new winter resort is expected to be opened by 2016 in Georgia’s mountainous region of Svaneti. The resort, worth 40 million and co-financed by the French government, will be located on Tetnuldi, a prominent mountain peak situated in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, in Svaneti. GEL 40 million will be allocated for this from the Georgian state.

Construction of the ski resort “Tetnuldi” is planned to be finished by 2016. At this stage, according to the agreement between the state and Pomagalski company, the French partners should provide the project with 3 rope-ways, according to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia.

The French Government allocated EUR 18 million for this project as a loan to the Georgian Government. From the Georgian side GEL 40 million will be allocated for this project in the future.

With 100% participation from the Government’s side the Tetnuldi Development company was created to supervise the development of the Tetnuldi project. The main mission of this company consists of implementing the design and construction works. At this stage there are design works in progress, which are being carried out by Ltd Geographic ordered by Tetnuldi Development. After the works will be finished an international tender will be announced for principal construction works, according to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The year 2014 declared the year of Improvement in tourism-linked services

18.12.2013 (Hvino TOUR News). Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration [GNTA] Giorgi Sigua presented the report of the work done by the National Tourism Administration in 2013. The event was opened by Economic Development Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

"2013 year was an unprecedented successful for the Georgian tourism. We have the most impressive growth across Europe. Georgia was highly appreciated in the report of the United in the number of international travels, which exceeded 5 million.

Increased macroeconomic indicators deserve a special recognition, including international revenues, the share of tourism in GDP and employment. In 2014 the National Tourism Administration’s budget will be doubled and the Agency will work with redoubled efforts on three priority directions. It is the positioning on the target markets , development of tourism infrastructure – regulation and taking care of improving the quality of service, " – Sigua noted.

In his words, the National Tourism Administration implemented a number of unprecedented and large-scale projects in 2013.

Georgia’s economy received 730 million USD from tourism this year

18.12.2013 (Hvino TOUR News). Revenues received from tourism totaled 730 million USD in the current year,  Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili said at the presentation, summing up tourism sector activity's in 2013.

According to Mr. Kvirikashvili, in recent years the number of tourists traveling to Georgia has significantly increased, this year’s rate is high as well: compared to last year the number of international tourists in Georgia increased by 23% and amounted to five million. According to the Minister, the number of tourists is expected to grow by 18 % next year, while revenues from tourism should make 1.1 billion USD of the gross domestic product. Kvirikashvili says that foreign tourists are particularly interested in Kakheti and wine tours and tourist interest and routes should grow.

© Hvino TOUR News

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 was an unprecedented year for Georgian tourism

16.12.2013 (Hvino TOUR News). According to Siko Gegiadze, advisor to the Chairman of the National Tourism Administration Administration,  2013 was very important for the development of Georgia’s image as tourism destination. The number of visitors amounted to 5 million this year that is unprecedented for the country.

According to Gegiadze, the number of tourists increased by 57 % compared with last year. Tourists from Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states were especially active this year.

In Gegiadze's words, the winter tourist season is going well in terms of tourists inflow, Gudauri and Bakuriani resorts are working at almost 100 % capacity,  and the National Tourism Administration is currently working on the popularization of Mestia resort.

Next year, the Tourism Administration expects 6 million tourists in the country.

© Hvino TOUR News

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Russian tourists the largest spenders in Georgia

11.12.2013. The average expenditure of foreign travelers to Georgia per visit amounts to GEL 626. Russian tourists on average are the most generous visitors while Armenians, who are the majority in terms of total number of tourists in the country, spend the smallest average amount of money when staying in Georgia. Food and beverage, accommodation, shopping and entertainment are the main outgoings of visitors to the country.

A total of GEL 2,841,876,840 was spent by tourists in Georgia in the first 10 months of 2013, according to data provided by the Georgian National Tourism Administration. 30% of the total amount was spent on food and beverage, 20% was spent on accommodation, 18% on shopping and 14% on entertainment.

“Citizens of Russia are in first place in terms of amount of expenditure in Georgia. Per trip to Georgia they spend on average about GEL 1,180. The following places are held by visitors from Central and Eastern European countries. Tourists from these countries spend GEL 943 on average. After them comes Turkey - GEL 533, Azerbaijan - GEL 467, and Armenia - GEL 301, according to data from the Georgian National Tourism Administration. This data is from the first 10 months of 2013.