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Vakhtang Asatashvili

Founder of Gudauri Heli-Ski Evaluates the year of 2015

Vakhtang Asatashvili The founder of Gudauri Heli-Ski reviews the year of 2015 for their company .

The statistics shows the 2015 results were unsatisfactory. In the January to November period, 2 % upturn was registered in the tourism sector and the inflows of visitors have increased by 7%, while in 2014, an 8% growth was registered in the tourism sector and the inflow of tourists increased by 2%.

In 2014, the tourism administration spent 12 million GEL, while this year initially 18 million GEL was allocated and later the amount increased by 7 million GEL to 25 million GEL.

Let’s see the statistics. I will not mentione the fact the tourism sector’s ratio is unimportant and even the existing indicators are the merit of transit, especially amid the 2014 negative reports. A lot of trailer drivers are included in the tourism statistics, because they have to wait for 24 hours before they leave the territory of Georgia through the Larsi Checkpoint.

I can only say that we had 39% upturn in tourist inflows. The growth marked 57% in 2012, 22% in 2013 and 2% in 2014.

Today the business sector will tell you that the tourism sector is declining. What is the reason? The Government refers to regional problems, but if we knew about expected regional problems, why has not the tourism administration taken preventive steps? The Russian economic crisis was foreseeable, plus there is the Russia-Ukraine tension and the tourism administration refers to these factors to substantiate the current slowdown in the tourism sector. But we knew about the war. They could take adequate steps timely. The tourism administration had serious budget, 25 million GEL, in whole. It turns out our spending is growing year by year without results.

At the same time, I cannot say these funds are spent in vain. I would say these funds are spent inefficiently. The country spent 12 million GEL in 2014 and received better results, while we spent 25 million GEL in 2015 and received the worse results.

A target campaign matters when you arrive in the target market, unveil a promo office and besides advertising campaign, you offer tourism products sales services simultaneously. This is a direct marketing. But today only advertisements are circulated that seem to be useless

Certain reforms should be definitely carried out in the tourism sector.

The current policy is based on the 2005 reforms, when the perception of Georgia was mainly determined by participation in various international exhibitions. Since then, everything follows the drift. We have been doing the same and there is nothing new in our efforts. Today we carry out information campaigns about Georgia and nobody cares for developing the products in itself. The last period Georgia’s partner countries spread information through their embassies that the travel to Georgia is not safe.

Similar precedents were recorded in other countries too, but they were carrying out coordinated job. In this case, the major responsibility is laid on the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry. Instead of spreading correct and reliable information for 24 hours to partner organizations about valuable safety conditions in Georgia, the Georgian government seems to be indifferent. As a result, the country has received many negative reports.

At this stage, it is ruled out that the ongoing geopolitical developments reap any positive for the Georgian tourism sector. The current situation may bring worse results.

Many persons expect the Russia-Turkey confrontation will direct tourists to Georgia. This is incorrect position.

Georgia cannot provide such tourism services as Turkey does. Turkey provides high-quality services at low prices, while there are no appropriate hotels in Georgia. Only Black Sea regions may be offered to foreign tourists as a counterweight. But hotel service tariffs are triple higher compared to Turkey. Georgia cannot compete with Turkey in reality. Naturally, a tiny growth will be recorded, no fundamental changes are not expected.

We should not Cause Incorrect and Ungrounded Expectations.