Home / Economy / Georgia is Attractive Tourism Destination for All Four Seasons
Sketch by Giorgi Magradze, Caucasus Business Week

Georgia is Attractive Tourism Destination for All Four Seasons

State Budget Bill Calls for Funding Tourism Sector Promo Campaigns by 23 million GEL.

The National Tourism Administration’s budget will increase to 23 million GEL as part of the tourism sector promotion state program. The increased budget will mainly finance marketing campaigns, the tourism administration head Giorgi Chogovadze said.

Under the parliamentary regulations, the 2016 state budget bill must be approved at the end of December 2015. Before, certain entries and allocations may be revised, including in the tourism administration. Anyway, the current bill calls for growing the administration budget by 5 million GEL.

The last three years have recorded a growth in the tourism administration budget. In 2014 the national tourism administration’s budget was 12 million GEL, in 2015 – 18 million GEL and the 2016 budget is planned at 23 million GEL.

A bulk of the allocations of about 20 million GEL will finance marketing activities, small tourism infrastructure development projects, trainings and developing various tourism products.

“According to our estimations, 10 million GEL suffice to finance summer and autumn campaigns.

Summer period traditionally remains the most intense period and in summer the country hosts a major part of tourists and international visitors. It is important that Georgia grow into an attractive and interesting tourism destination for all four seasons.

Besides summer months, the same financial support is required to winter marketing campaigns too”, Giorgi Chogovadze noted.

As to penetrating new markets, Giorgi Chogovadze noted the administration will intensify efforts in EU countries, but more aggressive campaigns will be carried out in the Persian Gulf, because the last months have recorded a growing tendency from this direction. Digital visa system has fueled a growth in tourist inflows from Iran.

“The Analysis has showed the Persian Gulf is located in the vicinity of Georgia, only 2 hours of flights. On the other hand, three airlines connect this Region with Georgia”.

To make a breakthrough in this direction, we have set visa-free regime to those persons, who reside and work in the Persian Gulf countries, besides local residents. As a result, the inflow of visitors from the Persian Gulf is increasing at high paces. Moreover, the airlines have adjusted their activities to this initiative and increased the frequency of flights. We have expanded our activity to the direction of India too”, Giorgi Chogovadze noted.

We plan to carry out more aggressive campaign in Eastern countries and the private sector representatives also welcome this initiative. Tornike Guruli, a marketing specialist and currently owner of Gallery Travel Tbilisi and Gallery Hostel Tbilisi, says the tourist inflow from western countries is not intense, because European residents have wider option and Georgia cannot compete with European markets. Therefore, our accent should be shifted to the eastern countries, Guruli asserts.

Georgia is a very popular country in such countries as Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Therefore, it is important that the state allocations finance the drawing of tourists from these countries too.

The visa liberalization issues are also very important for Iranian citizens, who seek to visit Georgia”, Tornike Guruli said.

Gudauri Heliksir owner Vato Asatashvili also welcomes a growth in the national tourism administration’s budget. Over the past years the increased allocations have not proportionally increased tourist inflows to Georgia. Not only the tourism administration, but mainly the government is guilty of inefficient results, because it is upon the government to determine the climate, but it does not know where to go, Asatashvili said.

Vato Asatashvili urges the Government’s economic team to develop new resorts in the country.

“The very new and recently developed resorts bring money. Advertising expenditures represent one-off costs that bring efficient results.

Moreover, the service sector development, generating revenues and advertising this generated service sector is of crucial importance. But we do everything in opposite. The government has decided that AD campaign represents a simple way and they spend money in a simple way and no one does business there, where it must be done in reality”, Vato Asatashvili noted.

Giorgi Chogovadze: The Year of 2015 was Successful for Tourism Sector

Despite negative effects of the Region’s political and economic difficulties on our economy and tourist inflows, the national tourism administration changed the strategy at the beginning of 2015. A focus was made on international activities, including international marketing campaigns and tight cooperating with foreign media. In 2015 we invited more than 400 reporters from various countries of the world. As a result of this job, Georgia will host three influential international conferences in 2016 to 2017, including two ones will be held in 2016. As to an upturn in visitors’ inflow, the last 10 months have recorded a 7% growth in foreign visitors’ inflows and these indicators enable to conclude that the year of 2015 was very successful for international visitors and in terms of revenues”.