Several years are needed to repair Georgia’s tourist image
Wednesday, September 24The Russian aggression has damaged the Georgian tourist industry most of all. As is known tourism recently became an economic priority for the country. However the development of tourism depends very much on the image of the country, which should be stable, welcoming, friendly and safe. Due to the war, Georgia’s growing tourist image was seriously dented and investments as well as tourist spending also dipped considerably.
This year was hoped to be the year of tourism. 1.3 million tourists were expected in Georgia in 2008. Presumably the number of people who actually came, when confirmed, will be nowhere near that. The tourist infrastructure has suffered due to incidents such as the deliberate setting on fire by the Russians of the Borjomi-Kharagauli forest. Several dozen years will be needed to restore this to its former glory.
The Adjara region is one of the top tourist destinations, very busy in summer. Around half a million holidaymakers were expected there. Unfortunately these hopes were also frustrated and the region received around USD 35 million in losses. The Tourism Department is doing its best to improve the situation and plans to launch a serious marketing campaign for the 2009 season. But independent analysts doubt that former tourism levels could be reached and predict that several years will be needed before Georgia recovers it previous position.