Svaneti - available in winter!
09 December, 2010
Svaneti - available in winter!

Svaneti, one of the most picturesque Caucasian resorts of Georgia, becomes available to tourists during winter-time. Georgian National Agency of Tourism offers special packages to potential visitors starting December 15, 2010. Transportation will be available via planes.
Georgian National Tourism Agency (GNTA) worked out special tourist-packages tailored to tourists willing to take winter-trips to Svaneti. According to GNTA, besides standard tourist-packages that become available in this mid-December, special weekend-

tours and corporate packages are also coming soon.
“Everything should be done to promote Svaneti as much as possible so as to increase number of visitors there,” Maia Sidamonidze, Head of GNT, elaborates. “We want Svaneti to become a popular ski-resort. Up to day tourists have been going to Svaneti during summer time. However the state developed proper infrastructure there and we want to create due tourist packages in cooperation with tour-operators so as to enable Georgian as well as foreign tourists to go to Svaneti in winter and enjoy their holiday there.”
To insure safe and comfortable transportation of tourists in the Caucasian highland where the road is quite scary even in summer Georgian government deployed an air-transport infrastructure in Mestia, the center of upper Svaneti. Construction works of the air-port [started three months ago] located on 1400 meters above the sea level are already completed and it can receive planes starting December 20 of this year. The air-port can receive a 50-seat and 19-seat air-planes in summer and winter respectively.
Canadian-based Kenn Borek Air will be implementing flights from Tbilisi to Mestia twice a week [on Sunday and Friday] initially. Number of flights can be increased gradually based on tourist demand. The ticket prices start from GEL 150 per flight. 
Tourist agency officials assure that the air-ticket price is quite low as far as Svaneti-bound passengers have to pay GEL 40 per person to travel to Svaneti by micro-buses generally.
According to Ketevan Aleksidze, Head of United Airports of Georgia, Kenn Borek Air has a huge experience that takes flights in African zone mainly. Due to difficult landscape of Svaneti flights will be implemented only during day-ours and three flights can be done nevertheless. Tbilisi-Mestia flights duration lasts for an hour.
According to tourism agency, there are 3 hotels and 49 guest-houses in Mestia with total accommodation of 429 beds.
The cableway been under construction at the moment is supposed to be completed soon by the time when the Mestia air-port starts operation. Two skiing tracks will be available for this winter-season in Svaneti, and the third one is coming soon next year. An 8-kilometer motor-car road is constructed to connect the air-port with skiing tracks.
As to Ushguli villages deployed at alpine valleys in the feet of Shkhara summit [of Caucasian Range] at altitude varying from 2086 to 2200 meters above the sea level [it is sometimes referred to as the highest village in Europe], 9 guest-houses with 71 beds totally operate there. Three guest-house-based restaurants operate in Ushguli as well. 
According to nine months statistics provided by tourism agency, 11 493 tourists visited Mestia this year and 51% of foreign tourists was made by Israeli tourists. Svaneti turned out attractive to Polish and German tourists as well making 13% and 11% of tourist inflow respectively. The remainder part is made by tourists from Czech Republic, France, Italy, USA, Ukraine, Great Britain, Turkey, Finland, Canada, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, Holland and Austria.

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