Hotels federation founder: hotels "have to open" February 1 to "revive tourism sector from dead"

  • Hospitality business is under coronavirus-related restrictions through the month of January. Photo: Horeka Georgia on Facebook., 15 Jan 2021 - 16:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Hotels in mountainous tourist areas of Georgia will have to be allowed to receive visitors starting February 1 in order to revive the tourist sector "from dead", founder of the Georgian Hotel, Restaurant and Café Federation (HOREKA) Shalva Alaverdashvili said in a press briefing on Friday.

Alaverdashvili was speaking about the government-imposed restrictions - in place through January 31 - alleging there was ambiguity about whether hotel businesses would be allowed to begin operating the day after the deadline, or they would need to wait for further information about permissions in February.

We were expecting, and are still expecting, that hotels in mountainous resorts will be allowed to open starting February 1. [The hotels] have been accepting reservations for February - this [would bring in] the minimum income that would allow the hotels to cover their bills.

Waiting to be told on February 1 about what happens next [is unacceptable] - this is not how hotels open. The hotels already need [a definite] answer now to know whether to accept reservations. We will need to begin advertising, gather the personnnel, train them and open specific objects," Alaverdashvili told the media.

The founder of the HOREKA organisation told reporters businesses had had to make purchases during previous plans to open up restrictions on the sector in the pandemic, only to see the restrictions kept in place, leading to a "wasting or giving away" the products.

The representative of the hospitality business also added the sector could bring in "at least over 10 million US Dollars in two weeks" if allowed to reopen on the date, adding the move was necessary to "restore" the hotel sector after "failing to save it" during the earlier period in the pandemic.

Alaverdashvili told the press the businesses were "not asking for money" and added the public would need to "learn how to live with the pandemic".

Last month Georgian Restaurateurs Association founder Shota Burjanadze told local media restaurants in Georgia would have to open their doors starting on January 15 - instead of the January 31 date - or face a risk of permanent closure.

The government imposed restrictions on businesses for the duration of the month of January, in November.