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Where Tourists Spend Money in Georgia

Tourists Spend 4.3 Nights on Average and 888 GEL in Georgia.

About 7.9 million international nonresident tourists visited Georgia in 2017, according to Geostat, the national statistics service of Georgia, up 17.7% from the previous year. The percentage of tourists in the 31-50 age category made up 44.7% of the total of 6.5 million tourists, up 20.2% since the year before.

According to Geostat, there were 5.1 million international visitors in 2017, up 21.8% since 2016 (there were 4.2 million international visitors in 2016). 63.8% of international visitors were tourists. The percentage of excursionists (visitors who do not spend a night in Georgia) was 30.4%, while 5.8% of visitors were both tourists and excursionists.

According to Geostat, a majority of visits were paid to Tbilisi and Adjara – 3.1 million and 1.9 million respectively. Percentages of total visitors by region: Tbilisi – 33%, Adjara – 20%, Kvemo Kartli – 13%, Mtskheta-Mtianeti – 12%, Samtskhe-Javakheti – 8%, Kakheti 5%, Imereti – 4% and other regions 5%.

Visitors spent 4.3 nights on average in Georgia, up 13% since last year (3.8 nights). Repeated visitors were 75% of the total, and the chart below reflects the percent of visitors in 2017 by level of satisfaction.

As for the structure of tourist spending, according to Geostat, the total spending by visitors to Georgia was 5.761 billion GEL, up 31.6% since last year. The average spending per visit was 888.7 GEL (or 306 EUR).

Visitors spend a majority of their money on food and drink – 1.476 billion GEL. Accommodation ranked second with 1.326 billion GEL and entertainment ranked third. Miscellaneous spending totaled 789.7 million GEL; domestic transport – 483.4 million GEL; durable goods – 382.7 million GEL; precious items – 40.5 million GEL; all other expenses – 195.8 million GEL.

Giorgi Chogovadze, head of the National Tourism Administration, emphasized the growing revenues from the tourism sector. The number of tourists rose by 24.9% in April, and the number of international tourists increased by 16.8%.

“In 2016, for the first time, revenues exceeded 2 billion USD from international tourism. The figure was 2,750,000,000 USD in 2017. 2018 will be the first year when revenues from international tourism will exceed 3 billion USD,” Chogovadze said.

By 2022 Georgia is expected to host 7.6 million tourists, which is twice more than the population of Georgia, according to a tourism sector report by Galt & Taggart.

The report explains tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the Georgian economy, and it represents a significant inflow of foreign currency.

According to the report’s tourist statistics, in 2017 Georgia hosted 3.5 million tourists and tourism sector revenues totaled 2.8 billion USD. The research also discussed forecasts for the future, as in 2018 Georgia is expected to host 4.2 million tourists.

Over the past 10 years, the tourism sector has grown into a key source of foreign currency. For example, tourism sector revenues in 2017 exceeded 2.75 billion USD, including money transfers of 1.37 billion USD and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) of 1.861 billion USD. It is noteworthy that tourism sector revenues have been growing on a monthly basis over the past 10 years. The government should intensify efforts to further multiply revenues from the tourism field. The averaged 306 EUR spent by visitors in Georgia is a very low indicator.

By Merab Janiashvili
Economic Analyst
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