Square in Batumi. Photo by Nina Tumanova for the Caucasian Knot

20 August 2020, 21:39

Partial opening of borders fails to save tourist season in Georgia

The opening of the Georgian borders to five EU countries failed to bring a flow of foreign clients to tour operators. This summer, small hotels and guest houses on the Black Sea coast have to survive due to domestic tourism, their owners report.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in March, Georgia suspended flights because of the coronavirus pandemic. On July 8, the country restored welcoming tourists from five EU countries, including Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Meanwhile, the restriction on regular international air traffic has been extended until September 30.

According to the official website of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, after Georgia had opened the border for tourists from five countries of the European Union, 48,535 people visited the country, while for the same period of 2019, 1,099,000 tourists came to Georgia.

There are almost no foreign tourists in Georgia, says Paata Sheshelidze, the president of the "New Economic School". "Perhaps, several people have come to Georgia, but there is no tourist flow as it used to be," Paata Sheshelidze told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. The president of the "New Economic School" suggests that the situation will not change this year.

Owners of small guest houses on the Black Sea coast, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, say there are much fewer vacationers this summer compared to the previous years, and there are no foreigner tourists among the vacationers.

Giorgi, an owner of a guest house, says that he accepts only regular customers who come to stay with him during the recent 15-20 years already. "We are afraid of the coronavirus infection, and we accept only regular customers who have already become close friends for us. All of them are citizens of Georgia," the man said.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 20, 2020 at 06:09 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Inna Kukudzhanova; Source: CK correspondent

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