Georgia hosts over 4 million international travellers this year

So far this year most international visitors came from Iran, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 05 Sep 2016 - 13:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

More and more international tourists are coming to Georgia, and already this year more than four million foreign guests have enjoyed the sights and sounds Georgia has to offer.

Figures showed international tourism was continuing to grow and officials believed this was partly due to the addition of new flight routes and destinations over the summer months. Tourism was now one of Georgia’s fastest growing economic sectors.

Between January and August 2016 the number of tourists who visited Georgia increased by 17.4 percent, while the number of international travellers increased by 8.2 percent, said Georgia’s Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili today.

In the first eight months of the year Georgia hosted 4,247,729 international visitors (tourists, transit, other). Of this number 1,851,917 were tourists, said the Minister.

Between January and August 2016 the most international visitors came from:

  • Iran – 497 percent increase y/y
  • Jordan – 436 percent increase
  • Saudi Arabia – 130 percent increase
  • Israel – 59 percent increase
  • Kazakhstan – 34 percent increase
  • Latvia – 27.2 percent increase
  • Hungary – 18.7 percent increase
  • Czech Republic – 16.3 percent increase

Reasons behind Georgia’s growing tourism

Georgia’s Economy Minister explained one of the reasons that contributed to increasing tourist numbers was a Governmental campaign that promoted Georgia abroad as a unique tourist destination.

In the first eight months of 2016 the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) launched online campaigns in 16 different countries,” he said.
About 200 articles, blogs, documentaries and TV reports were made about Georgia. In total 434 journalists and 238 tour operators visited Georgia [between January and August]. The GNTA participated in 14 international and local touristic exhibitions,” said Kumsishvili.

Additionally, new flight routes also played a key part in attracting more tourists. In the first seven months of 2016 nine new international routes were added at Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport and Batumi Airports.

Georgia's Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili summed up tourism statistics of this year. Photo by Georgia's Ministry of Economy. 

The Minister also accented the development of new tourist destinations, which was part of Government’s four-point reform agenda that aimed to develop the country’s economy.

As well as new tourist spots, existing infrastructure was also being upgraded and improved, and this was evident in the various new hotels that opened in Georgia in 2015.

Last year 172 hotels with 3,223 beds were introduced in Georgia. Official statistics show there are now 1,225 hotels and 48,457 beds available for tourists in the country,” said Kumsishvili.

He noted 508 hotels became operational in Georgia within the last three years, which was 58 percent more than the number of hotels open to tourists before 2013.

In fact half of the hotels that are now available in Georgia were created during our Government’s term because we created such special investment conditions that allowed investors to implement their projects easily,” said Kumsishvili.

Looking ahead more than 60 new hotels will be built in Georgia in the coming years, which will bring an additional 3,800 beds for tourists.

Kumsishvili also believed transport development was another key reason why more tourists were now visiting Georgia. He said visitors were put off by poor infrastructure, organisation of activities and other hassles but thanks to efforts that rehabilitated and improved Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport, new flights and routes attracted more tourists to Georgia.

By the end of 2017 construction of a new terminal at Tbilisi International Airport will be completed. Furthermore the number of air bridges will increase from three to five.
New flights will also be offered at Kutaisi International Airport,” said Kumsishvili.

Tourism statistics of 2015

Adjusted figures from the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) showed 5.9 million visitors came to Georgia in 2015. This was seven percent growth year-on-year (y/y).

When speaking about the figures Georgia’s Economy Minister said money generated from international tourism in 2015 reached $1.940 billion USD.