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Ministers visit Svaneti

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, December 30
The winter tourism season is underway in Georgia. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili attended the opening of the new ski slope on Hatsvali Mountain in Svaneti together with the Ministers of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Regional Development and Infrastructure, Davit Narmania, Corrections and Legal Assistance Sozar Subari and several other officials.

The Prime Minister explained that Mestia is not only a ski resort, but is a venue for tourists 365 days a year.

Stressing that Mestia as a winter resort is gaining an importance, Gharibashvili said it is symbolic that the winter tourist season is officially being launched from Mestia.

According to the PM Mestia has been visited by more than 150,000 foreign and local tourists in 2013.

“I would like to point out that 2013 was a very successful year for our country in terms of tourism. The present data shows that more than a million foreign tourists visited our country, this is unprecedented,” Gharibashvili said, stressing that it means an increase of employment in the region, development of the tourism infrastructure and investment in the construction of additional facilities.

“Our government will contribute as much as possible as tourism is a major source of income for the local population,” the PM said.

While being in Mestia, PM Gharibashvili visited the construction site of a new hotel and listened to the plans of the hotel owner about how to attract tourists. The hotel will be opened in spring-summer, 2014. With room for 100 guests, it will employ 50 local residents.

“Mestia has huge potential that can bring much goodness to residents. I promise you that Svaneti will develop with a well-calculated plan,” Prime Minister stressed.

Gharibashvili also visited the Mestian Ethnographic Museum. According to him, Svaneti has historical meaning for Georgia, as the Svan people have been the country's “largest treasure guards.”

A large portion of Georgian treasure is being kept at the museum, including around 600 crosses and icons and unique murals that were kept and protected with great honor by the Svans.

After listening to the problems of the local residents in the education and healthcare sectors, the PM said all their problems can be solved. Stressing that citizens are the main priority for the current government, he said the new administration will do their best to meet people’s needs.