Georgia has always been an attractive destination for tourists, yet in recent years its popularity has increased unprecedentedly as more and more foreign travelers started to flood in.
In 2017, 7,554,936 international tourists visited Georgia, which is 1,194,433 more compared to the previous year amounting to + 18.8% increase in growth.
The unparalleled growth of Georgia tourism has been featured by a number of premier international editions, such as Emerging Europe, an intelligence platform positioned in London and Forbes, which devoted a broad article to the nation’s emerging tourism strategy in 2017.
According to this article authored by Craig Turp, Georgia tourism taking off sharply in 2012, jumped from 2.8 million travelers to 4.4 million in the period of 12 months.
“It was 2017 which really placed the country on the map: more than 7.5 million people visited Georgia, an increase of 18 percent in 2016. The number of visitors from Western Europe increased by almost 30 percent,” says the article.
The news network CNN has featured Tbilisi as “an almost overnight must-see destination, the city increasingly becoming one of the world’s most coveted hubs for fashion, arts, and creativity.”
According to UNWTO, Georgia holds the fourth place after Egypt, Vietnam, and Togo, among those nations that saw the largest increase in the number of international travelers.
in 2017 Georgia ranked 7th safest state out of 125, according to the International Crime Index.
In the same year, Georgia topped the list of nations in the category “Gastronomic and agrotourism”, as reported by an online version of National Geographic Traveler. The list of nations leading in various nominations is composed on the bases of the results of online voting on the website.
36% of users mentioned Georgia as the most desired country for gastronomic and agritourism. Italy was on the second place with 26%, and Belarus ranked third with 13%.
In addition to its apparent success in the field of gastronomic tourism, Georgia ranked third in the category “Ski vacation” with 10%, lagging behind only Switzerland (44%) and Austria (32%).
Although the tourism revenues in Georgia are not particularly high in dollar amounts compared to other countries, it holds a notably high 15% share in nations total GDP. For Montenegro, this indicator is 21%, for Croatia 19%. Greece tourism, for example, has less than an 8% contribution to GDP.
The spendings of foreign visitors to Georgia have a substantial effect on the balance of payments, and approximately 35.9% of Georgia’s products that support export earnings comes from tourism.
41% of Georgia’s territory is covered by forests, with 25% of Georgia’s land lying within national parks. Safe regions of Georgia offer different services including boating tours, birdwatching hiking, horse riding, safari tours.
Georgia is currently home to about 5,601 species of animals, including 648 species of vertebrates (more than 1 percent of those species found worldwide) and lots of these species are endemics.
In 2016, 310,477 foreign and 424,397 Georgian tourists visited the Protected Areas of Georgia. The attractions were Prometheus Cave, Kazbegi National Park, and Sataplia Managed Reserve.
At August 2017, there have been a total of 1,945 accommodation units registered from the GNTA database. The most prevalent form of lodging is hotels (41,123 beds), followed by Family Hotels (11,374 beds). In 2017, 60 new hotels with a bed number of 3,894 were all opened. By 2019, 194 resorts are planned to open, with a combined bed amount of 21,216.
Hotel chains involved in Georgia tourism include Courtyard by Millennium Hotel, Mercure, Marriott, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, and Radisson Hotels.
Batumi and Tbilisi feature numerous casinos which draw tourists from Turkey and other Muslim countries, where gambling is prohibited.
Based on the data by the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the average visitor in Georgia spends 1144 GEL. In the second quarter of 2017 the largest share of tourism spending came on food and beverages (in total 27%), and accommodation (22.1%). Among other neighboring countries, an average traveler from Russia spent the highest amount of 1,253 GEL per trip, followed by Turkey with 865 GEL, Armenia 578 GEL, and Azerbaijan 349 GEL. Tourists from central and east Europe spent 2049 GEL per trip, other representatives of Europe spent 2726 GEL, and travelers from the rest of the world spent 2653 GEL on average.