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Travel Companies Closing in Georgia

According to CEO of Medea Travel, many tour operators are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the financial crisis.

“We have already closed all offices, except for one.Banks do not give us loans, they believe that the tour operators do not have the resources to pay them, “- the company’s Director  Irakli Gogorishvili says.
“Commersant” tried to clarify the situation in the two travel companies – “Intertour” and “Natalia travel”, but both were closed.

The companies operating in the domestic market also do not rule out their closing.

In particular, Director of “Mimino Travel” Koba Bulashvili notes that due to a number of factors, the inflow of tourists has reduced.

“Because of the visa regime, the influx of tourists from Iraq has completely stopped. Furthermore, high ticket prices, unsettled infrastructure, insufficient number of hotels, bad service, unqualified guides also create problems. It is likely that those who work only on domestic tourism may go bankrupt,”- he notes.

Why do travel agencies complain of insufficient number of visitors? Especially when the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili announced that tourism was on the rise in the country – in 2013 the country was visited by 5.4 million people, which is 22% more than in 2012.

According to the expert in the field of tourism Marina Metreveli, the problem is complex and can be solved only by joint efforts of government and business.

“One of the problems is the introduction of a visa regime with many countries which supplied a large number of tourists. Due to  visas,  many tourists could not come in Georgia this year. In addition, weather conditions in September and October was one of interfering factors. A reduced number of tourists can be explained by  the absence of the head of the National Tourism Agency, which should develop the strategy. Apart from that,  in comparison with previous years activity of an advertising campaign abroad has declined. In general, the country doesn’t have  the tourism development strategy , without which it is impossible to achieve a serious progress in this area. There are also problems associated with travel agencies. They must evolve, be more competitive,  must offer consumers new services that might interest them. And most importantly – prices must correspond to the quality of services ,”- the expert notes.