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Georgia tourism market posted impressive growth in inbound arrivals in 2012
Travel and Tourism in Georgia - a new market research report on 2014-04-02 11:02:03
Georgia posts impressive growth in inbound arrivals. Georgia demonstrated impressive growth in inbound arrivals over the review period. 2012 was even more successful in terms of arrivals compared to 2011. The Georgian government has set travel and tourism as one of the key development areas and increased efforts to establish the country as an attractive tourist destination. The Georgian National Tourism Administration has developed promotional campaigns in domestic and international markets and actively participated in international travel fairs. The cancelation of visa requirements for Russians travelling to Georgia for up to 90 days has also had a positive effect as the number of inbound arrivals from Russian rose by 72% in 2012. Neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, remained the most popular source markets in terms of arrivals at the end of the review period. The number of inbound trips from Western and Northern Europe also saw positive development, albeit growing from a low base.

Regional transportation hub. The Georgian government has set a goal to transform the country into a regional transportation hub. Experts believe that Georgia, being situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, has the potential to become an important transportation centre in the region. At the end of 2010, Georgia signed the Common Aviation Area Agreement with the European Union aiming to integrate into a wider European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) and to synchronise Georgia´s legislation with the European Union. In 2012, the Georgian aviation market saw a notable increase in services from European carriers, carriers further afield in Asia and the Middle East. In the same year, Georgia signed an agreement with United Arab Emirates which allows flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft in any type of service (passenger or cargo), including the exercise of fifth freedom traffic rights. The government is also aiming to make an agreement with South Korea, which is expected to result in the launch of a Tbilisi-Seoul service.

2015 is to be a year of opportunities. The Georgian capital Tbilisi has been chosen to be the host of an important global sporting event, the Youth Olympic Festival, in 2015. It is expected that the festival will attract around 4,000 athletes from 49 European countries and bring in more than 10,000 visitors to see the event. Existing travel accommodation is estimated to be ready to house only 4,000-5,000 visitors, which is far short of the expected demand. The government plans to make significant improvements to the infrastructure by 2015. The sporting infrastructure of the city will be renovated according to European standards and an Athletes Village will be built. Moreover, in 2015, Georgia will, for the first time, host a UEFA event, the UEFA Super Cup. For a country like Georgia, hosting popular sport events could become a powerful tool for destination marketing. The organisation of such events is a great opportunity to promote the country and to improve its image.

Lifting up standards. Aiming to continue the positive development of the travel and tourism industry in Georgia, a number of actions have been undertaken. The government announced its aim to prioritise the development of infrastructure in the country. Major reconstruction works related to tourism are already underway. In order to improve the travel accommodation category, the government has developed a Hotel Investment initiative, which provides favourable conditions for investors to enter the Georgian market. Further steps have been taken to develop a skilled human resources pool, aiming to improve the quality of customer services in travel and tourism. The Georgian National Tourism Administration is developing large-scale marketing campaigns, targeting new markets and new tourist product development.

Bright future forecast. The outlook for the travel and tourism industry in Georgia looks bright as the country has great opportunities for its development. Attempts by the Georgian National Tourism Administration to attract more visitors to the country and to develop Georgia´s image as an attractive tourist destination are expected to show positive results. The number of inbound arrivals is forecast to keep growing, and experts believe that the development of the industry will create new jobs and generate higher industry income between 2012 and 2017.

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