After Russia put a ban on flights going into Georgia, the tourism industry took a significant hit. No explanation was given by the Kremlin regarding why flights were banned and Russian tourists in Georgia were asked to leave. Due to this ban, Russians and Russian-speaking visitors from some of the other former Soviet republics have also been canceling reservations and dropping out of their travel plans at the last minute. There are many of these people who are following Russian news. These news reports are making the claim that there are anti-Russian riots in Georgia and it’s the violence that potential tourists are afraid of. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, has described the ongoing protests that are being reported out of Tbilisi as “Russophobic hysteria.” —
According to the most recent news reports, the demonstrations were spurred on by the June 20th appearance of Russian lawmakers in the parliament of Georgia. Many protestors were completely outraged to see that a Russian lawmaker was occupying the seat for the Georgian parliament speaker, and when this was happening, the Russian troops were continuing to occupy the breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The response to these actions was for Vladimir Putin, Russian President, to suspend all flights for those who planned to travel to Georgia and letting all Russians who were currently in Georgia know they needed to leave the country no later than July 8th. Unfortunately, these growing tensions between thee two countries is having a significant impact on Georgia tourism.
In fact, more and more Russians have made the decision to vacation in this country and they have accounted for the majority of the foreign visitors to the country in 2019, with more than 540,000 arrivals in January through May alone. The number of Russian visitors was expected to grow and reach two million by the end of the year. While the flight ban and exodus of Russian visitors has been enacted by the President, and this has somewhat impacted the tourism industry, there are many Russians who are still choosing to visit Georgia, despite the above-mentioned facts.
Regardless of the policies set by Moscow, there are many Russians who continue to visit the country, and experience all the culture and attractions offered. In addition to catering to Russian travelers, Georgia is also a popular destination for other visitors, including those from the Middle Easy, Europe, American and others. This means that while the tourism industry may have taken a slight hit, it’s by no means “down and out” and there’s still plenty of tourism money to go around and keep the Georgian tourism industry strong.
With this looming hardship, and no end in sight, Georgians are also turning to social media to encourage people they know to visit Georgia. They are letting others know that the country needs support and that it’s still open and safe for visitors. To the delight of many Airbnb owners and those who count on tourism for their livelihood, many of these efforts have been extremely successful and led to an influx of visitors from other countries, besides Russia, coming into and visiting the country. The hopes is that these new marketing efforts are going to help continue the success of the tourism industry.
Release ID: 88920500