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Georgia opens land borders starting June 1

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, May 26
The Interagency Coordination Council made a decision to open Georgia’s land borders on 1st of June. As Giorgi Ghibradze, Chief of the Operational Staff of the Council, noted, it will be possible to cross the border with a complete vaccination certificate from any country and a PCR negative test result from some. People with the negative response of PCR tests made in the last 72 hours will be allowed in, from more than 50 countries. Such persons will be obliged to repeat the test within the next 72 hours. Further self-isolation will not be required if the test returns negative. It is recommended that all visitors should have health insurance, which also covers cases related to covid-19.

Canada, Japan, Kuwait, China, South Korea, Moldova and Oman were added to the list of countries whose citizens and residents will be able to cross the Georgian border with a negative answer to the PCR test conducted in the last 72 hours.

According to the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natia Turnava, from June 1, the opening of the land borders will be done carefully, in compliance with the regulations.

"The fact that we are gradually opening our borders to international tourists, first by air and now by land, is gradually affecting our economic situation, even the stability of the GEL exchange rate, which we all see now, which is influenced by various factors and the first is the foreign exchange earnings brought in by tourists. Also, the positive expectations that this fact creates.” Turnava said, adding that the number of airlines that increase the frequency of weekly flights, or new airlines entering the market, is growing rapidly.

As Minister of Finance Lasha Khutsishvili stated, the strengthening of the national currency exchange rate is due to the positive expectations that exist regarding the resumption and opening of economic activity, as well as the relationship with the tourism sector and the acceleration of economic growth.

In terms of economic activity and tourism, it’s important that to date, Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi airports have more than 350 weekly flight applications from various airlines. In 2019, the year when the summer season saw a record number of tourists, there were about 800 flights a week. The Ministry expects this number to be restored by about half in summer of 2021.

Recall that the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation has improved its forecast for Georgia in terms of returning to the pre-pandemic mark and further growth last week.

The fast recovery of the tourism sector is very important for restoring the economy, since the sector constitutes 8% of Georgia's GDP.

The council also decided that on weekends, starting next month restaurants across the country will work not only in the open spaces, but also indoors.

Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people remain in force in the country in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This includes large-scale birthdays, weddings, funerals and other public and ritual events.