Tourism industry representatives "disagree" with gov't plan for easing restrictions

  • Tourism sector associations and tour operators signed their open letter to the government on Monday. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 25 Jan 2021 - 17:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's tourism industry representatives have delivered an open letter to the government outlining their "disagreement" with the announced timescale for easing coronavirus-related restrictions in the country over the following months.

Signed by 15 tourism-related associations and tour operators working in the country, the letter offers the signatories' own vision for reopening winter resorts and borders, restoring international flights, implementing a "COVID insurance" plan and letting restaurants, museums and "other sites" resume their work.

The five-point plan also involves a recommendation for creating a working group involving private businesses for "developing the 2021 strategy for tourism".

The specific points outlined in the letter are as follows:

  1. Reopening of winter resorts starting on February 1
  2. Reopening of both land borders and airspace, with regulations for arriving visitors
  3. Drawing up of a COVID insurance programme for foreign visitors
  4. Resumption of operation of restaurants, museums and "other sites" with "strict regulations and control", coinciding with the restoration of international flights
  5. Creation of a working group involving the private sector, for developing the 2021 strategy for tourism in the country

Associations signing the open letter are the Georgian Hotel, Restaurant and Café Federation (HOREKA), the Georgian Incoming Tour Operators Association and the Georgian Tourism Association. The address is also joined by 12 tour operators and transport companies.

Earlier this month HOREKA founder Shalva Alaverdashvili told local media hotels in mountainous tourist areas of Georgia would have to be allowed to receive visitors starting February 1 in order to revive the tourist sector "from dead".

In December, Georgian Restaurateurs Association founder Shota Burjanadze said restaurants in Georgia would need to open their doors starting on January 15 - as opposed to the government plan at the time of easing the restrictions after January 31 - or face a risk of permanent closure.

On January 22, the government announced a three-stage plan for easing COVID-related restrictions in the country between February 1 and March 1. Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava also announced resumption of international flights on February 1.