Coronavirus impact: Georgian tourism to see 30 mln GEL loss per month

Economy Minister said that despite this challenge, the lari is strengthening and the Georgian economy is growing. Photo: TAV Georgia., 26 Feb 2020 - 11:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s tourism sector will lose about 30 million GEL per month (about $10.79m/€9.93m) following the coronavirus ban on travel from China and Iran, announces Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava.

The direct damage caused by suspending the flights with Iran and China will amount to at least 30 million GEL per month. Depending on how long [coronavirus crisis] lasts, the damage will increase, but I hope the world will quickly deal with this challenge”, Turnava said.

Minister Turnava said that as the coronavirus is a global challenge, the global economy, trade, aviation and tourism will be ‘seriously’ damaged.

In Georgia we are doing our best to protect our citizens’ health… that is why we took this unpopular measure and suspended flights from Iran and China”, Turnava said.

She added that despite this challenge, the Georgian national currency the lari is strengthening and the Georgian economy is growing.

Despite all global challenges, whether it is regional shocks or coronavirus, the most important thing is that our economy is healthy. Our macroeconomic situation is one of the healthiest in the region. Our economy is growing, our export is growing, our national currency is strengthening. This is a result of right monetary and economic policy”, Turnava said.

The number of visits by international travellers to Georgia hit a historic high and reached 9,357,964 in 2019, which is an increase of 7.8 per cent in comparison to last year, says the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

From China 48,071 visits were made in 2019 which was 50.9 per cent increase compared to 2018. As from Iran, 141,997 visits were made last year which was a 51.2 per cent decrease.