Georgia’s tourist numbers jump 15% in May 2015

Billboard in Riga's street promotes Georgia as a summer tourist destination. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 04 Jun 2015 - 18:49, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is beginning to cement its reputation as a leading tourism destination.

The number of tourists who visited the country in May 2015 was about 15 percent higher than the same time in 2014, says Georgia’s National Tourism Administration.

A total of 454,545 tourists visited Georgia last month; of this 164,690 people stayed in the country for 24 hours or more.

Meanwhile in the first five months of this year, more than one million visitors came to Georgia.This was a two percent increase compared to 2014. In this time 656,068 visitors stayed in Georgia for 24 hours or more, which was 3 percent less than last year.

Additionally, 405,208 people came to Georgia as a transit stop. This was a 21 percent increase on the same time last year, said the Administration. 

In May 2015 visitors from Georgia's neighbouring countries continued to flock to Georgia for a vacation. Guest numbers from Turkey were up 0.5 percent, Azerbaijan figures increased 8.7 percent, Armenia tourist numbers rose 33 percent and guests from Russia spiked 42.5 percent. Meanwhile visitor numbers from Ukraine dropped 5.8 percent. 

From Europe, Georgia attracted 44 percent more Latvian visitors, 27 percent more German tourists, 26 percent more Czech guests, 24 percent more British tourists and 14 percent more Dutch tourists.

Furthermore, more guests came to Georgia from Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, up 104 percent and 29 percent respectively. 

Visitor numbers from citizens from other Eastern European countries also rose, with 42 percent more guests coming from Belarus and 43 percent more guests from Moldova last month. The number of tourists from Central Asian countries increased by 639 percent (United Arab Emirates). As for US citizens, the number of these tourists who visited Georgia in May 2015 increased by 15 percent.

Georgia’s Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili explained the increased number of international visitors coming to Georgia was a result of the Government’s "very serious work”.

"A special campaign was conducted in nine targeted markets. Additionally, 200 international journalists and representatives from more than 70 tourism agencies were invited in Georgia. This was made to avoid a negative trend [of decreasing tourism numbers]. I am glad that we achieved this goal despite the fact that the environment around us has not improved,” Kvirikashvili said.

Meanwhile, Minister Kvirikashvili announced the country's plans for supporting the summer and winter tourism seasons.

"We have designed a special program for summer which is about holding daily events in Tbilisi, Batumi and throughout Georgia. As for developing the country's mountain tourism, there are plans to create a special program to introduce young people to Georgia better and to develop backpacking programs,” he said.

The Government planned to develop Georgia's winter tourism potential through several new investments, which aimed to develop the ski infrastructure in Georgia’s winter resorts.

Meanwhile, this year Georgia’s National Tourism Administration will allocate 8 million GEL to promote the country as a tourism destination in several countries. This amount of money was far more than what has ever been spent in previous years, said the Administration.