Georgia seeks to attract more visitors from Gulf states

Georgia has the most open governance of 13 Eastern European and Central Asian countries, claimed a WJP report. Photo by N. Alavidze /, 20 Mar 2016 - 17:34, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian officials are taking action to make Georgia a more attractive country for travellers from Gulf countries.

Head of Georgia’s National Tourism Administration Giorgi Chogovadze hosted a group of travel professionals from Qatar, Doha in Georgia's capital Tbilisi earlier this week.

Chogovadze said Georgia expected a growth in the number of tourists from the Gulf region on account of the visa-on-arrival service available for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents.

Doha-based daily newspaper Gulf Times wrote a group of 16 travel professionals arrived in Tbilisi from Qatar on a joint invitation from the Georgian National Tourism Administration and a GCC-based airline.

"Georgia has a very low crime rate and this makes it a favoured destination for tourists, many of whom are repeating their tours to the country,” Chogovadze said while interacting with the tour operators in Old Tbilisi, Gulf Times reported.

The Georgian official also said the availability of rooms and other facilities at competitive rates, as compared to several other countries in the region, would help Georgia attract more tourists from GCC states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Giorgi Chogovadze with the travel professionals from Qatar in Old Tbilisi. Photo from

Chogovadze also told the visiting tourism professionals efforts focused on developing facilities at the airport in Tbilisi, where works worth millions of dollars have been carried out over the past three years.

"Compared to the previous year there was nearly 11 percent growth in the number of tourists to Georgia in 2015,” he said.

The newspaper stated the Georgian official felt there was little awareness about his country among Gulf residents until a few years ago.

"I feel that even now, many Gulf residents have the idea that Georgia is quite far from the Gulf region even though the journey time between Tbilisi and most GCC states is only 3-3.5 hours,” Chogovadze said.

He noted in addition to being home to several leisure, archaeological and heritage spots, Georgia also had "excellent facilities for health education”.

"A large number of students from the Gulf region, India and Far-East are pursuing studies at our universities, mainly Tbilisi State University, which offers some of the best-known academic programs in medicine,” he said.

The medical education programs available in Tbilisi were attractive "both because of their affordability and good ratings at international level” he said.