Tourism in Georgia (country)

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Georgian National Tourism Administration logo

Tourism in Georgia is an important component of the economy of Georgia. International tourism is a rapidly growing industry; in 2015 it employed around 158,500 people, producing 6.7% of Georgia's GDP by providing US$1.94 billion of revenue.[1] 2016's tourists numbers reached a record high of 2,720,970 people.[2] In 2017, international tourist arrivals increased again, reaching 2,783,594 as of September, with an expected annual revenue of US$2.73 billion.[3] The expenditures of foreign visitors to Georgia have a significant effect on the balance of payments, and approximately 64.3% of Georgia’s service export revenue comes from tourism.[4] International tourists stay an average of 6.5 days.[4]

The official body tasked with promoting tourism to Georgia is the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA); in 2016, the GNTA participated in 21 international and domestic tourism fairs, conducted marketing campaigns on 16 target markets, and hosted 99 press and familiarization trips.[4]

Accommodation[edit]

Hotel Tbilisi Marriott

As of August 2017, there were a total of 1,945 accommodation units registered in the GNTA database, with a total of 65,656 beds, the regions with the most beds were Tbilisi - 17,796 (27.1%) and Adjara - 12,126 (18.5%).[5] The most prevalent form of accommodation is hotels (41,123 beds), followed by Family Hotels (11,374 beds); in 2017, 60 new hotels with a combined bed number of 3,894 were opened. From 2017 to 2019, 194 hotels are planned to open, with a total bed number of 21,216.[5]

Hotel chains with operations in Georgia include: Courtyard by Marriott,[6] Mercure,[7] Millennium Hotel,[8] Hilton Hotels & Resorts,[9] Holiday Inn,[10] Sheraton Hotels and Resorts,[11] and Radisson Hotels.[12]

Batumi features several casinos that attract tourists from Turkey, where gambling is illegal.

Arrivals by country[edit]

Top 15 countries of origin for international tourists (first 5 months, 2016)

The most common citizenships of international visitors arriving in 2015, 2016 and 2017:[4][13]

Rank Country 2015 Rank Country 2016 Rank Country 2017 (Jan-Sep)
1  Armenia 1,468,888 1  Azerbaijan Increase 1,523,075 1  Azerbaijan Increase 1,299,789
2  Azerbaijan 1,393,257 2  Armenia Increase 1,496,246 2  Armenia Increase 1,247,708
3  Turkey 1,391,721 3  Turkey Decrease 1,254,089 3  Russia Increase 1,112,793
4  Russia 926,144 4  Russia Increase 1,037,564 4  Turkey Decrease 932,906
5  Ukraine 141,734 5  Ukraine Increase 172,631 5  Iran Increase 272,873
6  Israel 59,487 6  Iran Increase 147,915 6  Ukraine Increase 156,142
7  Poland 41,425 7  Israel Increase 92,213 7  Israel Increase 99,977
8  Germany 36,826 8  Kazakhstan Increase 48,809 8  Saudi Arabia Increase 53,093
9  Kazakhstan 36,777 9  Poland Increase 44,388 9  Kazakhstan Increase 47,872
10  United States 31,147 10  Germany Increase 40,889 10  Poland Increase 45,996
Total arrivals in 2015 5,901,094 Total arrivals in 2016 6,350,825 Total arrivals in 2017 5,822,835

Destinations and attractions[edit]

Narikala Fortress in Tbilisi
Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta
Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi
Ushguli community in Svaneti
Batumi seaside
Rabati Castle in Akhaltsikhe
Gudauri ski resort
Destinations[14] Attractions
Tbilisi Old TbilisiNarikalaRustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square • Funicular • "Dry bridge" • Agmashenebeli AvenueSimon Janashia Museum of GeorgiaArt Museum of Georgia • Gabriadze Theater • Holy Trinity CathedralEthnographic MuseumTbilisi Botanical GardenLisi Lake • Rike park • Sioni CathedralAnchiskhati Basilica • Chardin street • Mtatsminda Park
Mtskheta UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Jvari Monastery, St. Nino Monastery • Bebristsikhe • Armaztsikhe (Bagineti) • Armazi Fortress • Monastery of Shio MghvimeZedazeni • Ilia Chavchavadze Saguramo State Museum
Gori Gori Fortress • Virgin Mary Cathedral • Historical-Ethnographic Museum • State Museum of Joseph Stalin • Museum of Military Glory • Gorijvari (resort) • Uplistsikhe • Ateni Gorge • Village Gardateni • Ruisi Cathedral of Transfiguration • Urbnisi Cathedral
Zugdidi Dadiani Palace History and Architectural MuseumGanmukhuri and Anaklia (Black Sea Resorts) • Kolkheti National Park • The swinging rock – "Kuakantsalia" • Khobi Monastery • Skuri (resort) • Complex of "Otsindale" • Shurubumu (wonder of the natural world) • Canyon of Intsra • Enguri Hydropower Plant
Kutaisi UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Bagrati Cathedral, Gelati Monastery • Motsameta Monastery • Kutaisi State Historical Museum • National Museum of Military Glory • Historical district of the city • Vani Archeological Museum • Sataplia Nature Reserve • Prometheus Cave • Katskhi Pillar • Okatse Canyon
Telavi Telavi State History and Ethnography Museum • Cholokashvili Street • Batonis Tsikhe Castle • Nadikvari Park • Giant Plane tree • Old Shuamta (one of the olsdest Orthodox churches in Georgia) • New Shuamta • IkaltoAlexandre Chavchavadze Tsinandali MuseumAlaverdi Monastery
Mestia UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ushguli (one of the highest settlements in Europe) • Svaneti Historic and Ethnography Museum • Museum of Michael Khergiani • Transfiguration Cathedral in Laghami • Ski lift and the view from Zuruldi • Chalaadi Glacier • Kala settlement • Village Adishi • Ipari-Nakipari Church of St. George • Latali Church of the Lord • HikingCamping
Stepantsminda Stepantsminda Historic Museum • Gergeti Trinity Church • Gveleti Waterfall • Devdoraki GlacierDariali Gorge • Upper Truso Gorge • Khdi Gorge • Gorge of Artkhmo • Village Sno • Juta • HikingCamping
Borjomi Blue Palace "Firuza" • Mineral Water Park • Borjomi Museum of Local Lore • Gogia’s Castle • Peter’s Castle • Likani PalaceBorjomi-Kharagauli National ParkTimotesubani Monastery - The Cathedral of Holy Virgin • The Green Monastery • Kvabiskhevi Church of the Assumption
Batumi Beaches of Adjara • Old Batumi • Batumi Boulevard • Batumi Botanical Garden • Dolphinarium • Piazza Batumi • "Argo" Entertainment Center and Batumi Cable Car • Gonio Fortress • Makhuntseti Waterfall • Skhalta MonasteryMtirala National Park
Akhaltsikhe Rabati CastleAtskuri FortressSapara MonasteryVardzia (cave town) • KhertvisiGeorgian National Astrophysical Observatory • Akhaltsikhe Synagogue
Kvareli Kindzmarauli vineyard • Khareba vineyard • Ilia Lake resort • House-Museum of Ilia Chavchavadze • Kvareli Fortress
Sighnaghi Town Streets, Museum of Sighnaghi • St. Stephen chutch • Wineries • Bodbe Monastery
Gudauri SkiingParaglidingHeli-skiingSpeedridingSnowboarding • Ski school
Bakuriani SkiingSnowboarding • Recreation • Bakuriani Park • Snowmobiling
Tetnuldi SkiingMountaineering
Goderdzi SkiingSnowboarding • Freeride

Culture[edit]

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and winemaking is deeply ingrained in the culture of the country,[15] the oldest archaeological remains related to grape seeds and winemaking dating back 8,000 years have been found in Georgia, while today the country has over 500 varieties of grape.[15] Georgia has 18 appellations of origin of wines, they are: Tsinandali, Napareuli, Atenuri, Kindzmarauli, Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Khvanchkara and etc.[16]

Ecotourism[edit]

Black Cliffs' Lake (3,000 m asl), Lagodekhi Protected Area

41% of Georgia's territory is covered by forests, with 25% of Georgia's territory lying within protected national parks.[17] Protected areas of Georgia offer various services including: boating tours, birdwatching, eco-educational tours,[18] hiking, horse riding, biking,[19] safari tours,[20] sport fishing.[21] Georgia is a home to about 5,601 species of animals, including 648 species of vertebrates (more than 1% of the species found worldwide) and many of these species are endemics.[22]

In 2016, 310,477 foreign and 424,397 Georgian citizens visited the Protected Areas of Georgia,[23] the most popular attractions were Prometheus Cave, Kazbegi National Park and Sataplia Managed Reserve.[4]

Safety[edit]

A travel advisory was in place during and after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, it had the severity level of "extreme danger", due to the risks associated with fallout from the war, including land mines.[24][25] Countries that have issued travel warnings included New Zealand.[26]

Since then tourist safety has improved, and in 2017 the International Crime Index ranked Georgia as the 7th safest country out of the 125 in its index.[27]

Practical information[edit]

Georgia uses the standard Europlug (220 V, 50 Hz), the international dialing prefix is +995, it uses the metric system, and its currency is the lari (GEL or ₾).[24]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Georgian tourism in figures" (PDF). GNTA. 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "საქართველოს საზღვარზე გადაადგილებულ ვიზიტორთა სტატისტიკური მონაცემები" (PDF). MIA. September 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Researches". GNTA. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Georgian tourism in figures" (PDF). GNTA. 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Accommodation Units". GNTA. August 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Courtyard Tbilisi". marriott.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "MERCURE TBILISI OLD TOWN". mercure.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "The Biltmore Hotel Tbilis". millenniumhotels. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "HILTON BATUMI". hilton.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Holiday Inn Tbilisi". ihg.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Sheraton Batumi". sheratonbatumi.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Radisson Blu Iveria". radissonblu.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Destinations". GNTA. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Ivan Watson (20 April 2010). "Unearthing Georgia's wine heritage". CNN. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  16. ^ National Agency of Wine. "Georgian wine". Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  17. ^ "Details". Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "Kolkheti National Park". Agency of Protected Areas. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Bordjomi-Kharagauli Protected Areas". Agency of Protected Areas. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Vashlovani Protected Areas". Agency of Protected Areas. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "Chachuna Protected Areas". Agency of Protected Areas. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  22. ^ "Eucariota, Animalia, Chordata". Georgian Biodiversity Database. Institute of Ecology. 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "2016 წლის ვიზიტორთა სტატისტიკა თვეების მიხედვით". Agency of Protected Areas. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  24. ^ a b lonelyplanet.com
  25. ^ lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa
  26. ^ safetravel.govt.nz
  27. ^ "Crime Index for Country 2017". www.numbeo.com. Numbeo. 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 

External links[edit]