Posted: 1 year ago

Tourists’ Spending Declines in Georgia

A total of 647,770 international visitors arrived in Georgia in April 2019. Year on year growth was at 4.6%.

This information was released by the National Tourism Administration, based on the data of the Interior Ministry. The reporting period recorded 348,519 touristic visits, up 14,018 visits compared to April 2018. Year on year growth made up 4.2%.

As for the January-April numbers, international visitors carried out t 1,617,548 visits to Georgia, up 35,166 visits year on year (+2.2%). The number of visits by tourists in January-April 2019 was at 882,130, up 42,590 visits compared to January-April 2018 (+5.1%).

According to the National Tourism Administration, positive tendencies are noted in  EU countries, including international visits from Austria, (+50.8%), Italy (+45.6%), Spain (+43.8%), France (+43.7%), Germany (+43.5%), the Czech Republic (+38.2%) and so on.

It is noteworthy that the ratio of neighboring countries in the number of visits to Georgia has been declining over the past few years. On the contrary, the quantity of visits grows from countries further abroad, and this means that Georgia’s attractiveness as a tourism destination is increasing. The ratio of visits from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Russia and Armenia in January-April 2018 constitutes 66% of all visits. This figure declined by 2.17% during January-April 2019, and made up 62.87%.

As for income, according to preliminary report, in January-April 2019, incomes from international visits to Georgia made up 856 million USD (+8.4%), up 6 million USD year on year. According to the April 2019 indicators, incomes from international visits to Georgia constituted 277 million USD (+16,1%), up 38 million USD year on year.

Over the past few years, the inflow of tourists and international visitors has been growing, but the average amount that one tourist spends in Georgia is very low. The figure has even declined year on year. For example, according to Geostat, the National Statistics Service of Georgia, in the first quarter of 2019, the average expenses made by  a tourist has declined by 16.1% year on year. and amounted to 889.7 GEL. In 2012-2017 the inflow of tourists to Georgia doubled, and the amount spent by a tourist rose to 364.2 USD, from 318.6 USD. Based on this indicator, Georgia ranks behind most economies, where a tourist spends 500-800 USD on average.

According to the 2016 indicators of the World Bank, the average amount that a tourist spends in various countries of the world is as follows: Hungary – 1400 USD; Azerbaijan – 1400 USD; Turkey – 900 USD; Cyprus – 900 USD; Armenia – 750 USD; Czech Republic – 750 USD; Latvia – 700 USD; Poland – 650 USD; Greece – 600 USD;

Georgia’s revenues from tourism sector is low compared to other countries, but Georgia’s revenues from the tourism sector holds the same ratio to GDP as other countries, and accounts for 7.6% in 2018. For example, in Montenegro this indicator exceeds 21%, Croatia – 19%. Georgia’s revenues from the tourism sector constitutes 8% of GDP, like Greece.

These growing trends in the tourism sector are confirmed by the interest that various airlines show towards our country. According to the latest reports, the Arab airline Fly Emirates is interested in the Georgian market. The low-cost airline Ryanair also plans to launch operations in Georgia. According to the Association of Airlines of Georgia, eleven airlines entered Georgia over the past year, including the Ukrainian airline SkyUp, the Romanian airline Tarom, the Saudi airline Lynas, Jazzera Airways, Salam air, Air France, Air Malta, Air Korea, Ellinair, Uzbekistan Airways, and Red Wings.

According to the January-April report, passenger turnover at Georgian airports rose by 20%. As a result, Georgian airports have served 1,450,847 passengers in the reporting period, up 20% year on year.

Growth in passenger turnover was recorded at all international airports. As a result, in January-April,  passenger turnover rose by 16% year on year.