Ural Tour Operators Explore Georgia
17 October, 2013
Ural Tour Operators Explore Georgia
The third prospecting party of Russian tourist agencies visited Georgia on 9-14 October 2013 to explore the country’s tourist potential and take the message to their clientele.
Following the two previous info-tours of Russian tour operators this year, sending a delegation of Moscow-based agencies in June and a group of corporate tour operators in July, the turn came to Ural-based tourist agencies in October. Ural is acknowledged as one of the key regions of Russia taking its interest in tourism,
and Georgian Tourism Marketing, an initiator of two previous tours from Russia to Georgia, decided to focus on Ural this time.
As Malkhaz Chinchilakashvili, Director of GTM, informed media during the press-conference on 9 October at Ria Novosti news agency office, the group consists of 16 people including top managers of biggest tourist companies of Russia operating in Ural. The info-tour aims to show both east and west Georgia including highlands, spa and sea resorts of the country. As Georgian National Tourism Agency reports, the inflow of Russian tourists in Georgia is by 77% higher this year compared to the past year. And Georgian tourism administration considers Russia as one of the major markets. Direct airline connection between Tbilisi and Yekaterinburg in Ural operated by Ural Airlines, is instrumental in boosting tourist turnover on this route.
“There is no precise statistics as yet. This direction [Georgia] has been more in demand in Moscow naturally. However, apart from Yekaterinburg, one of the biggest tourist centers of Russia, it stands to reason to go further to Ural, East Siberia and Far East. Georgia is very interesting as a year-round tourist destination,” Vera Timofeeva, Director General of VEDI Group, said during the press-conference. Representatives of Ural tourist agencies underline that Georgia is very prospective from the point of view of healthcare purposes that is becoming very popular in Russia. Viktoria Freiz, Executive Director of Ascotel-Tour, pointed out that agro-tourism can be also very attractive when it comes to healthcare. According to her, Russian tourists started to take growing interest in agro-tourism recently and she would like to learn more about the products produced in Georgia and local cuisine. Irina Karaeva, Director General of VEDI Tour Group, believes that corporate tours to Georgia would be very popular.
One of the obstacles that hinder growth in Georgian-Russian tourist turnover is lack of information on Georgia in Russia, skyscraping air-transportation prices and lack of middle-class hotel infrastructure. Arrangement of info-tours can be very helpful to this end. As tourism sector pundits underscore, expensive transportation and hotel prices hamper tourist exchange among all post-Soviet countries. By today there is one flight per week executed on Tbilisi-Yekaterinburg route, however, if the passenger turnover increases, ticket prices may go down and flights may get more frequent. Russian tour operators admitted that in the rating of the World Tourism Organization, Georgia was the top position in the Central and Eastern Europe space of international tourism. Moreover, Georgia was named as the fastest growing tourist destination in the analogous region. Russian guests believe that Georgia has become such a big tourist attraction thanks to its ancient roots, history, tradition and excellent climate.
“Georgia is close, it is something not yet completely swallowed by civilization, this is a genuine, true world and we would like to come here over and over again. Georgia is a nice space, country and state where one would like to feel closer with nature, with grass roots. I believe everyone has got one particular reasons to come to Georgia,” Karaeva summed up.

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