Georgian tourism witnessed success in 2013
26 December, 2013
Georgian tourism witnessed success in 2013
“The year of 2013 was unprecedentedly successful,” Giorgi Sigua, Head of National Tourism Administration of Georgia (NTA), said on 18 December in a presentation summing up the year. “We have the most impressive growth at the level of Europe. The UN World Tourism Organization gave the best assessment to Georgia.”
Meanwhile 2014 was declared as the year of improved service.
The number of visiting international tourists has exceeded 5 million this year – growth by 23% over last – according
to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development. The accommodation coefficient has also increased but of greater importance are macroeconomic indicators such as employment, income, and the tourism share of the GDP.
By the second quarter of 2013, tourism accounted for an estimated 7.3% of the GDP. 180 thousand people were working in tourism, with the total income of some USD 730 million.
Kvirikashvili hopes for 18% more visitors next year, with tourism employment increasing by 21%, and tourism-based revenue reaching USD 2.1 billion.
Moreover, “I believe tourism has been and will remain as one of the most important sources of foreign currency inflow. It is a very important pillar sector to strengthen our payment balance,” Kvirikashvili added, with tourist interest in the Kakheti wine region and Batumi, on the Black Sea, particularly high.
Interest is also growing in adventure tourism and health recuperation centers, and is expected by government to increase next year, with special programs targeted there. The World Bank provides support in Kakheti and Imereti. A general plan for development in all regions will be disclosed soon.
A number of important projects have been launched by NTA this year, including the www.georgia.travel tourist portal, which provides comprehensive information about Georgia and online maps. Tourists can share their impressions with friends through this web-site. A 24-hour hot-line at 0 800 800 909 was put into operation for tourists, with info on travel, transportation, food, tourist routes, national holidays and festivities.
Tourism ambassadors were assigned by NTA to market tourism in target countries, to raise awareness of Georgia and improve its tourist image. According to Sigua, NTA campaigns were successful in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Latvia.
A mobile guide groups’ service was established in the capital; they circulate about key tourist haunts in Tbilisi and provide information without charge.
Georgia became a member of the International Congress and Convention Association this year. This will enable the country to host international events and attract foreign delegations - the government has set up a convention bureau.
Next year NTA will be working with a doubled budget and priorities of positioning in markets, infrastructure development, and improvement of the quality of service, Sigua promised.

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GBP
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