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Tourist season starts

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, June 17
The tourist season has started in Georgia but there are no tourists, or very few. Economic crisis, the August war and general instability have damaged Georgia’s tourist image very seriously, although tourism is still considered one of Georgia’s main development priorities. In some tourist areas activity has not only slowed down but is actually dead. For instance the Borjomi-Kharagauli forest park, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, mountainous Adjara and Samegrelo are almost empty. Domestic tourism is also almost completely dead.

Tourism department officials have recommended that tour operators reduce their prices to attract and maintain clients. Overall the tourist department does not think the situation is so catastrophic, claiming that tourist inflow has so far decreased only 7%. Analysts however suggest that this statement represents a wilful refusal to see what is going on and there are many reasons for the decline in tourist numbers other than those given above. Tour operators in Georgia ask very high prices, one tourist day costing not less then 200 USD. The cheapest bed and breakfast hotel for tourists is USD 40, whereas in the Turkish resort Antalia there are hotels charging as little as USD 10. Analysts think that hotel prices in Georgia are expensive because of the different taxes and expenditures imposed on the owners.