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Strong Tourism Results in the First Part of 2018 As Tourist Season Booms

A total of 18 new hotels have opened in Georgia since January 2018. According to National Tourism Administration, 1624 new beds and 812 new suites were added to the tourism sector.

According to the Forbes Georgia, seven branded hotels have also opened among mentioned 18 hotels, of which Stamba hotel is the largest one with 205 suites and 400  beds. Ramada Encore Tbilisi is the next with 152 suites and 250 beds. Moxy hotel has united 130 suites and 260 beds in Tbilisi. One more branded hotel Timber Boutique Hotel has opened in Tbilisi with 18 suites.

As to regions, Hotel Porta Caucasia Kazbegi opened in Kazbegi, Akhasheni Wine Resort in Kakheti Region with 41 suits. Abmassadori Kachreti with 120 suites was also expanded.

Since January 2018, the most part of suites (505 ones) opened in Tbilisi. Kakheti Region ranks second with 155 suites and Samtskhe-Javakheti Region is third with 54 suites.

As to the hotels under construction in regions, the most number of new hotels will be built in Tbilisi.

In whole, there are 2196 accommodation facilities in Georgia, including 827 hotels, 811 guesthouses, 398 hotel-style accommodation facilities, 160 various facilities.

A total of 219 hotels are planned to open in Georgia in 2018-2019. As a result, the country will receive 12 748 new hotel suites, including the most part of suites will be united by TWIN Tower in Batumi (350 suites), which will open in 2018. Moreover, 200-suite Radisson Park Inn will open in Tbilisi and 165-suite Hilton Garden Inn in 2018.

For the first time in Georgia, in 2018, revenues from international tourism will exceed 3 billion USD, Giorgi Chogovadze, head of National Tourism Administration noted at a news conference a month ago.

“In June, the inflow of tourists rose by 21% compared to June 2017. The January-June average indicator is also very successful. It is important to note, besides the current year is a record year in terms of tourist inflows, the country will also have record revenues. For the first time in Georgia, revenues from international tourism will exceed 3 billion USD”, Chogovadze noted.

According to early report by National Tourism Administration, under the January-April 2018 indicators, revenues from foreign tourism made up 799 million USD (up 28.4%), up 177 million USD compared to the same period of 2017.

As of first quarter of 2018, revenues from foreign tourism constituted 551 million USD (up 26.7%), up 116 million USD compared to the same period of 2017. According to the 2017 consolidated indicators, revenues from foreign tourism made up 2.75 billion USD (2 751 279 624 USD), up 27% (+585 million USD), year on year. Ratio of tourism in GDP makes up 6.8% according to January-March indicators, up 16.6% year on year. According to the 2017 indicators, ratio in total GDP constituted 6.9%, up 13% year on year, the information published by National Tourism Administration says.

The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has inquired how summer resort season proceeds at Georgian resorts and how prepared specific regions have met the summer season.

The resort season has entered active phase in Svaneti Region, however, it turned out that the disordered motorway to Mestia is a major challenge and this factor declined the number of tourists.

Summer tourism season in Adjara Region officially opened on June 3 and, like the previous year, the region expects a huge inflow of holidaymakers. As to Kobuleti, the season opened with spectacular ceremonies on July 1.

According to Adjara Tourism and Resorts Department, in 2018 the region will meet tourists with new tourism routes, accommodation places, tourism services and international festivals.  Moreover, in 2018 Adjara Region will meet tourists with 426 registered hotels and about 22 000 suites. The mentioned hotels will serve top, middle and low-budget segments. As to food facilities, there are more than 400 registered restaurants and cafes in summer season in Adjara Region.

Vladimer Gazdeliani, manager general for Banguriani hotel in Mestia, says that tourists inflow has considerably increased. The hotel’s workload has increased by about 30% compared to previous years. The inflow would be higher if the local motorway to Mestia had been rehabilitated and brought in order, he added.

“Motorways create major challenge in Svaneti. Without this problem, number of tourists would hike. Tourists abstain from visiting Svaneti, because the disordered motorways protract trip time. This factor frustrates business development, because tourists feel uncomfortable”, Vladimer Gazdeliani said.

Number of visitors declined at Tetnudli hotel, compared to 2017. The hotel director Mzia Tskhadadze agrees with Gazdeliani and says that invaluable road infrastructure frustrates tourism sector development.

“It takes 3 hours to get here from Zugdidi, while only 1 hour is required in reality. There were plans for building a tunnel, but nothing has been done till today. Airplanes fly in good weather. It should be noted that these airplanes have only 15 seats and tourists may be left outside”, Mzia Tskhadadze noted.

Expensive electricity and a lack of natural gas is another key problem in Svaneti. These components grow expenditures of local entrepreneurs. Number of visitors grows and soon the region will face deficit of electricity.

“Electricity is very expensive. There is no natural gas supply. Therefore, we have to consume huge volume of electricity. Power pressure is also invaluable. Sometimes, it is very low, sometimes very high. It would be better that the local board prioritize natural gas, which would considerably lower our expenditures”, Vladimer Gazdeliani noted.

Representatives of hotels point to suspended cable ways:

“Cable ways should valuably operate in winter period for people, who visit the Region for skiing. Both cable ways must work, but they have not worked almost the whole winter season. And this factor have inflicted much loss to our business, because arrived tourists moved to other resorts”, Mzia Tskhadadze said.

Neli Naveriani, first deputy mayor of Mestia Municipality, says that Svaneti is developed dynamically. Djvari-Mestia motorway and tunnel construction works are in active phase and this project will cut transportation time to Lentekhi-Mestia by 1.5 hours.

“I would not say that there are no problems in the Djvari-Mestia section, but the existing problems are not ignored. Serious strengthening works are underway in certain sections. In due time, Government made invaluable motorway and arrangement works proceed in these sections even today. Hedges, concrete works are being performed. In practice, this motorway is laid anew”, Neli Naveriani said.

The first deputy mayor of Mestia Municipality proves that electricity consumption has considerably increased in Mestia and natural gas supply would tackle this problem, but this project may be implemented only after building a tunnel.

“Natural gas supply would remove any problems, small and medium business would not depend on electricity entirely. Electricity transmission lines are overloaded, especially in winter period, because hotels use huge volume of power. Electricity should be replaced, otherwise the consumption peaked 20 megawatt an hour in winter period, while 5 years ago this figure was only 3 megawatts”, Neli Naveriani said.

As to cable way suspension, Hatsvali cable way has not ceased operation. As to Tetnuldi cable way, it genuinely suspended operation untimely. Tetnuldi could operate two month longer, because snow does not melt there foe a long period, the first deputy mayor confirmed.

It will take several years to develop tourism sector in Kakheti Region, Governor Irakli Kadagishvili says. The region still has problems with motorways, 24-hour water supply. These problems arose in the region in 2013-2014, but the rehabilitation works are being performed for several years.

“In Kakheti, infrastructure should be arranged to have European-standard tourism opportunities. The infrastructure is improved year to year. As to hosting tourists, we have not reached valuable readiness yet”, the Governor said.

“This year we will start a full rehabilitation of Telavi and 24-hour water supply will be ensured. This problem will be removed for ever at the end of 2019. Water supply problems will be also resolved in Kvareli, Lagodekhi, Tsnori, Signaghi, Sagarejo and Gurjaani by the end of 2018”, Irakli Kadagishvili said.

Only motorway to Tusheti was obstructed by a huge volume of rock that slipped down near the village of Khisso and the river Alazani was ponded.  But in early June the motorway opened again. At this stage,  special machines work in dangerous sections to perform cleaning works, the Governor said.

As to the gasification issue in the Region. At this stage, various important projects are underway. 95% of Kakheti residents will be connected to natural gas supply network for two years, Irakli Kadagishvili told the Commersant.

“Gasification process will be completed in several villages of Lagodekhi in July 2018, while, gasification works in the village of Kedetebi, Dedoplistskaro District, will end in 2019”, Irakli Kadagishvili said.

When talking about current problems on motorways, Kadagishvili said that highway construction works and rural roads arrangement works are being performed on permanent basis. Bakurtsikhe-Tsnori and Velistsikhe-Telavi road construction works will start in 2019, while, Bakurtsikhe-Gurjaani bypass road construction works will end in near future, Kadagishvili said.