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Galt & Taggart Expects Tourist Trips to Reach Nearly 9 Million by 2022

Tourism is booming – says Galt&Taggart. According to the company, visitor trips (tourist trips and same-day trips combined) were up 16.4% y/y to 3.0mn in 1H18. Tourist trips drove the growth, reaching 1.9mn visitors and accounting for 64.5% of the total in 1H18.

This comfortably translates into our total tourist trip forecast for 2018 of 4.9mn. Leisure and recreation is the predominant purpose of visits to Georgia, and visitors enjoy Georgian cuisine the most. With Georgia’s regions attracting a growing number of visitors and the regional accommodation market undersupplied, the timing for the hotel development in Georgia’s regions looks right.

Neighbors dominate but share has consistently fallen since 2015. Visitor trips (tourist trips and same-day trips combined) were up 16.4% y/y to 3.0mn in 1H18. The top source markets (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia) accounted for 72.0% (73.0% in 1H17) of the total trips and contributed 10.8ppts to the overall growth of 16.4%. In 1H18, from the top four source countries, the largest individual contribution to overall growth came from Russia (+27.9% y/y). Visitor trips from Turkey (+20.4% y/y) and Azerbaijan (+10.6% y/y) also posted double-digit increases while visitor trips from Armenia increased modestly (+3.9% y/y). The secondary source markets contributed 5.5ppts to overall growth in visitor trips with Iran (+41.0% y/y), Israel (+36.8% y/y) and Germany (+44.4%) driving the increase.

Tourist trips drove growth, accounting for 64.5% of total in 1H18. Tourist trips rose 22.9% y/y to 1.9mn in 1H18, which we expect to comfortably translate into our total tourist trip forecast for 2018 of 4.9mn.

“We expect tourist trips to reach nearly 9mn by 2022. We have revised our forecast upwards and now expect 8.8mn tourist trips in 2022 (up from 7.6mn previously), or 2.4x the country’s population based on a new methodology. This increase will see Georgia overtake Hungary (1.6x), Slovenia (1.5x), Albania (1.4x) and Bulgaria (1.2x) according to their 2016 ratios. However, this would still be below the proportions found in Croatia (3.3x), Cyprus (2.7x) and Montenegro (2.7x) in 2016”,-says company.

GNTA has moved to a new methodology for compiling tourist-related statistics in 2018. The methodology is aligned with UNWTO standards and allows for more accurate and comprehensive peer comparison. GeoStat also conducted an international visitor survey, which explores tourist characteristics such as spending patterns, duration of stay, average spending by visitors, purpose of visit, etc. The international travellers statistics based on new methodology registers the following categories:

• International traveler trips:
1. Tourist trips (overnight stay)
2. Same-day trips
3. Other trips (non-tourism trips). This category includes trips to usual environment and trips of travelers aged 15 or below. Travelling to usual environments is defined as travelling to other country eight or more times a month.
• Tourist trips and same-day trips are pooled in international visitor trips (which is subject of our analysis).
• The new methodology includes Georgian citizens who live abroad and excludes foreign residents who live in Georgia.
• The new methodology does not register transit visitors separately (which was one of the separate categories in old methodology).