Success in squaring the circle
Significant rise in per capita spending by visitors in Georgia
March 08, 2023
Georgia is well on course to squaring the circle in terms of tourism success: last year, at 5.5 million, tourist numbers dipped to over a third below pre-pandemic figures, however industry sales rose from 3.3 to 3.5 billion US dollars. “We want to maintain our status as an insider tip while keeping up with international competitors“, said Mariam Kvrivishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of this year’s host country of ITB Berlin 2023, on Tuesday in front of the press. She has her sights set on Europe and in particular Germany where tourism’s future is concerned.
According to Kvrivishvili, the reason for the post-pandemic dividend was that tourists stayed longer and spent more per head. On average the figures were four nights and around 800 dollars, but with large fluctuations depending where visitors were from. “We call them guests, not tourists”, she said. “We may not be perfect at everything, but our hospitality comes from the heart.”
Nevertheless, Georgia was aiming to expand its bed capacity from currently around 58,000 to 90,000 in three years. According to her, one of the advantages of the country in the Caucasus was that “we are a small country“. That made it easier to experience a lot of different things on one’s travels in a relatively short time, and Georgia had an unusually large amount to offer. Beginning with its alphabet, attractions ranged from her country being the first to cultivate grapes for winemaking thousands of years ago to spectacular nature and adventure experiences.
Statistically, Georgia was one of the safest tourism destinations on Earth, said Kvrivishvili reassuringly, in reply to the question as to whether Russia being a neighbour affected tourism. She reiterated the country’s desire to join the EU: “We are doing everything to pursue this path and we deserve it as well“, she said and thanked her counterpart, Vice Chancellor Dr. Robert Habeck (Greens), for declaring Georgia belonged to Europe in his opening speech on the eve of ITB Berlin 2023.