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Tourism business still facing problems

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 6
The tourism business used to be one of the most profitable and promising spheres of the country’s economy, but last year’s Russian invasion destroyed the Georgian tourist industry by discrediting its image. Immediately the Russians entered tourists were evacuated from Tbilisi and for several months the country’s tourist business was absolutely paralyzed. By the end of 2008 foreign tourist inflow into Georgia had decreased 95%.

Georgia’s biggest problem in the tourist market is its image as an unstable country. The advent of 2009 has not changed much, as the winter season has passed without much success.

Some specific issues create further problems for this industry. The main tour operators, hotels and restaurant owners cannot now pay back the loans they took from the banks due to the crisis. There are also different taxes which are a burden for businessmen involved in tourism.

Analysts think that several steps should be taken. First, stability should be established in the country and intensive work should be carried out by state institutions to restore the country’s image. A special taxation system should be elaborated for businesses involved in the tourist industry to lift the present heavy tax burden. The quality of service provided should be improved. Banks should issue soft loans for tourist business enterprises. In short, a wise and economically viable state policy should be followed.