Monday, April 14, 2014

Katie Melua’s Tbilisi: My kind of town

Interview by York Membery

14.04.2014. Katie Melua, the singer, reveals her favourite hotels, bars and restaurants in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital and her childhood home

Why Tbilisi?

It’s where I spent most of my childhood up to the age of nine, before my family and I moved to Britain. Being the capital of Georgia, it’s the country’s cultural centre. It’s also steeped in history – the Old Town, with its twisting alleys, is particularly fascinating – and has some beautiful churches dating back hundreds of years. Unlike London, it’s a very hilly city with the advantage being you can enjoy the most fabulous views from certain points. It’s a city that’s very much off the beaten track. Not many tourists have been there, which makes it all the more worth visiting.

Anything special I should pack?

Probably headache pills and a hangover cure. The Georgians will treat you like royalty, and the odds are you’ll do a lot of eating, drinking and toasting. Being so hilly, good walking shoes are a must. It’s hot and muggy in the summer but very cold in the winter, so pack accordingly. Late spring is a good time to go.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

National tourism administration conducts ad campaigns only in five countries

12.04.2014. Marketing campaigns will be conducted only in Germany, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland this year. At this time it’s unknown whether or not ad campaigns will be conducted in Ukraine due to the current developments there. The total annual budget that will be spent on Georgia’s promotion in the world market amounts to 8 million 900 thousand GEL.

As early as last December, the head of the Administration said that in 2014 Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan would be among the leaders of the target groups. The Baltic states, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel were considered as the interesting markets as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Georgia, WTO discuss cooperation prospects

09.04.2014. Georgia and World Tourism Organization discussed the prospects of cooperation, in particular the creation of joint tourist products.

Georgian Prime Minister met with Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Irakli Garibashvili thanked Taleb Rifai for his visit to Tbilisi and expressed the hope that mutual cooperation will soon enter a new phase, Georgian Prime Minister's office told Trend on April 7. "This is very important for Georgia," he added.

The parties discussed the tendencies of tourism development in Georgia and reforms implemented in this area.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Georgian economy and its development is a priority for the authorities.

The prospects of cooperation, the creation of common tourism products and technical cooperation issues that the organization offers its members were discussed during the meeting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tbilisi International Airport among the best ten airports in Eastern Europe

01.04.2014. Tbilisi International Airport has been named as one of the best airports in Eastern Europe by Skytrax World Airport Awards, the most prestigious accolades for the world airport industry.

Result of a survey of air travelers revealed Tbilisi International Airport was ranked as one of the best ten airports in Eastern Europe of 2014.

The other top nine international airports were: Budapest Ferenc Liszt, Borispol (Kiev), Tallinn, Riga, Bratislava, Belgrade, Sofia, Varna and Burgas.

TAV general manager Mete Erkal believed under the operation of TAV Georgia, Tbilisi International Airport had turned into "one of the most important hubs in Eastern Europe in a very short time”.

"Tbilisi International Airport provides services to more than 1.4 million passengers a year. It was in the result of passenger surveys that Tbilisi International Airport was named as one of the best airports in Eastern Europe,” Erkal said.

Friday, March 28, 2014

IWINETC Day 1 round up: Excitement increases for Georgian wines & tourism

28.03.2014. After a very tense and dangerous bus ride less than two miles from the hotel, only to have to walk the last 100 meters of the way on a side street, our first official visit was to the only wine bar in Tbilisi called Vino Underground Wine Bar & Shop. As its name suggests, this is an underground cellar that was converted into not only a wine bar, but also a small and delightful wine shop that brings to Tbilisi some of the best natural wines of Georgia.

Owned and operated by seven small Georgian wineries, here one can find a wide variety of wines representing the different wine regions of Georgia. The vast majority of wineries of Georgia are very small. But there is a movement for some of these wineries to work together to improve wine quality and awareness.

From traditional Georgian qvevri to western stainless steel styled wines, from fresh and light whites to fuller bodied and savory orange (or amber) wines, our host, John Wurderman and a few of his fellow Georgian wine makers gave us a most well rounded introduction with a very well prepared tasting of Georgian wines to be discovered during the International Wine Tourism Conference in Tbilisi this weekend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Israeli businessman to build agro-tourism center in Kakheti

22.03.2014 (Hvino TOUR News). Israeli businessman will be engaged in agro-tourism development in Georgia  Abram Tetruashvili stated to Commersant radio that he intends to invest one million USD in agro-tourism development project that will be implemented in the region of Kakheti.

He says that the purchase of farms, hotels and visitors' center construction, production of agricultural products at the site are planned in the region.

Tetruashvili adds they plan to purchase the land where wheat and other crops will be grown. The necessary equipment will be brought from Israel in order to increase production while produced products will be exported . In his words, the agro-tourism center will be deigned mostly for Russian and Israeli tourists. The businessman plans to implement the project in the spring.

© Hvino TOUR News

    Georgian Wine Catalogue      

Friday, March 14, 2014

Georgian Tourism Administration postpones marketing campaign in Russia

14.03.2014. The Georgian Tourism Administration has postponed a marketing campaign scheduled for March in Russia for an indefinite period. Georgia's marketing campaign was to start in Russia in March.
The promotional clips about Georgia were to be shown in Moscow's cinemas.

The tender was announced on January 31, 2013 to conduct a campaign in Russia, the administration said on March 13. Two Russian companies, namely, Uralska and Initiative participated, but a winner was not determined. "We felt it inappropriate to show promo movies in Moscow's cinemas because of the worsening of the political situation and current events," the administration said. "A decision was taken to suspend the advertising activity and to cancel the campaign. But we assume that this year's certain advertising campaign will be carried out in Russia."


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Georgia, Spain sign memorandum on cooperation in tourism sector

13.03.2014. Georgia's Vice Prime Minister - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Spanish Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister, Jose Manuel Soria discussed cooperation in tourism and renewable energy sectors, during Kvirikashvili's visit to Spain.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding in the tourism area, Georgian Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry said.

"We agreed that a delegation, including Spanish government's and private sector's representatives, will make an official visit to Georgia, during which the strategic cooperation in the tourism sector will be discussed. Spain has very great experience in this area. I believe that our future cooperation will be very interesting," Kvirikashvili said.

Jose Manuel Soria, in turn, said the two countries have plenty room to deepen relations and cooperation.
"This applies to tourism, energy and infrastructure. Today we have formalized a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation in tourism. At the same time, together with the Foreign Minister, we are working on an official visit to Georgia. It will include many Spanish companies," Soria added.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Number of Passengers Travelling to Ukraine from Georgia Increased by 34.5% in 2014

11.03.2014. A total of 44,148 passengers departed to Ukraine from Georgia during January-February 2014. The number is 34.5% more than it was during the same period of last year. Ukraine remains the top fifth country in terms of number of arrivals in Georgia. In January 2014, 8,212 international visitors arrived in Georgia, which is 72% more than the data of the previous year.

Monthly comparative figures have shown that the largest number of Georgian passengers travelled to Ukraine in November 2013. The figure was 27,819. In December the number dropped to 25,972. In January 2014, 23,382 passengers travelled to Ukraine and in February - 20,766.

“The number of departures to Ukraine will not decrease in 2014 in comparison to 2013,” said Alexander Gachechiladze, Head of the Transportation Department at the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency (GCAA).

According to Gachechiladze, the total number of flights from Georgia to Ukraine was 26 per week. “1,500 flights will be carried out in the direction of Ukraine during the current year,” said Gachechiladze.

Ukraine International Airlines (MAU) remained the single airline offering Tbilisi -Kiev direct flights, since Aerosvit left the Georgian market more than a year ago. Currently the ticket price for a Tbilisi -Kiev round trip is USD 326, while it is USD 185 for one way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Georgia features in world leading travel expo

10.03.2014. Georgia’s unique tourism is being showcased alongside 188 other countries at the world’s largest travel and trade fair – the ITB Berlin.

Georgian Tourism industry insiders are eyeing the ITB Berlin 2014 as the opportunity to raise awareness surrounding Georgia’s tourism potential and attracting more international visitors.

The five day high-caliber program featured international tourism industry experts and government representatives, who discussed concepts, best practice examples, and the potential profitability of sustainable tourism.

The Georgian delegation is being led by the head of Georgia’s National Tourism Administration, Giorgi Sigua, who believed this event granted Georgia exclusive rights to present the country through unique guidebooks and brochures.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria to create integrated tourism network

27.02.2014. Heifer International Armenia presented today an international program designed to promote innovative rural tourism in the Black Sea basin region. The 700,000 euro worth project supported by the European Union embraces Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria. The program that started in November 2013 will last for 18 months.

"The project will build effective and replicable networks of capable local service providers in rural tourism, as well as will help travel agencies to co-develop market and sell a new unique tourist product that encourages interflows of visitors intra-regionally. It will contribute to unprecedented cooperation between national authorities in the region aimed ultimately to sustaining the cross-border impacts of rural tourism," said Anahit Ghazanchyan, director of the Armenian branch of Heifer Project International.

She explained that a network of travel agencies and other companies will be set up in Armenia that will establish links with similar agencies in the other three countries. The network in Armenia will develop and implement a unique tourist product  called "One tour package for regional visitors ," which will be part of  the  regional tourism product.

Mekhak Apresyan, head of an economy ministry department overseeing tourism industry, said the program will be actively supported by the government."We have potential to develop agro-tourism, when tourists are in agricultural work,’ he said.

Heifer Project International, founded in 1944, aims at reducing global poverty.


ICC Georgia holds 5th Consultative Board

27.02.2014. Yesterday, 26 February 2014, the National Committee of ICC Georgia held its 5th Consultative Board meeting at The Holiday Inn in Tbilisi.  Mr. Fady Asly, Chairman of ICC, welcomed the members of the ICC Executive, ICC Youth, Consultative boards and special guests.  The program featured a presentation of DCFTA Implementation by Mr. Nikoloz Khundzakishvili, Chairman of the DCFTA Implementation Commission, and included an overview of the economy and investment climate from the perspectives of ICC (Mr. Fady Asly), Business Association Georgia (Dr. Soso Pkhakadze), American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (Ms. Sarah Williamson), and the Georgian Bar Association (Mr. Zaza Bibliashvili).  Ms. Teona Lavrelashvili, Chairwoman of the Youth Parliament and ex officio, ICC board member, remarked on the highlights of her trip to the United Nations in New York and US State Department and Congress in Washington, D.C., partially organized by ICC Georgia. Following the presentations, the Consultative Board had the opportunity for questions and remarks.

Afterwards, a reception in honor of the Consultative Board was held with attendees including ICC youth members, partners from the business sector, distinguished guests and the diplomatic corps. The reception was opened by the Honorable Bruno Balvanera, Regional Director of the EBRD, who provided a summary of the ICC’s Consultative Board Meeting.  Mr. Fady Asly, Chairman of ICC Georgia introduced the newest Consultative Board member, H.E. Mr. Z. Levent Gümrükçü, Ambassador of Turkey.

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