Georgia is enjoying significant financial and economic benefits since launching direct flights between Georgia and Russia, Agenda.ge reports.
Latest figures revealed increasing numbers of people traveling between the two nations this year, and Russian guests had spent more than $750 million GEL in Georgia while on holiday in 2015.
This holiday spending was a major boost to the Georgia’s economy, said Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili.
Today he announced the number of air passengers travelling to Russia had increased by 92 percent between January-August 2015 compared to the same time of 2014.
“It is the merit of the current Georgian Government’s policy over open sky to foreign flag carriers,” Kumsishvili said.
In total, in the first eight months of this year Georgian international airports transported 1,501,748 passengers – a 10 percent increase (about 150,000 more) than the number transported in the same time of the previous year.
Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili says Russian visitors spend huge amounts of money in Georgia.
“The number of passengers was particularly higher from Tbilisi to Moscow; we have 84 percent growth in this direction,” Kumsishvili said.
Airlines from both countries carried a combined total of 179,602 passengers from Tbilisi to Moscow between January and August 2015. This was 81,776 more passengers than in 2014, corresponding data showed.
One Georgian airline and three Russian companies carry out flights between Georgia and Russia.
Most passengers (52,436) were transported by Georgian Airways (also called Airzena), followed by Sibir (50,516), Aeroflot (47,900) then Transaero (28,751).
Kumsishvili stressed the Government’s position was correct when it allowed Russian flag careers to enter Georgia after Georgia endured a six-year closure of air space to Russia.
There were no regular flights between Georgia and Russia since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. Our Government’s solution proved to be right and the decision also turned out to be beneficial for the Georgian air company, who enjoyed an increase of 32 percent more passengers compared to last year.”
“When it comes to Russia, Georgian Airways increased its passenger numbers by 15 percent,” Kumsishvli said, noting the increased air traffic meant increased income for the state economy.
“Russian visitors spent 756,733,318 GEL in Georgia in the January-August period of 2015,” the Minister added.
So far this year Georgia also enjoyed an increased number of guests from several other nations. Particularly, the number of air travellers from the United Arab Emirates was 54,559 – up 64 percent year-on-year.
A 32 percent increase was also detected regarding visitors from Israel. In the first eight months of 2014 50,840 Israeli passengers came to Georgia while in the same time in 2015 this had risen to 67,447.
Similarly, passenger numbers from Kazakhstan jumped 21 percent, from 27,728 in 2014 to 33,649 in 2015.