Problems in Georgian tourism
By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 29Georgia was once famous for its tourist attractions, and tourism business became a priority for the country after the Rose Revolution and some steps in this direction were made. However the August Russian invasion shattered the hopes of the Georgian tourist business, at least for the time being, because the Russians did a lot to discredit Georgia’s image as a attractive tourist destination. Moreover the Russians deliberately set fire to the picturesque Borjomi gorge forests, burning dozens of hectares and damaging its ecological systems and flora and fauna. Then later in Autumn Georgia was struck by the world financial crisis and today the country’s image has deteriorated seriously.
Some time ago the Petit Fute Guide published a list of 11 countries which are not recommended as tourist destinations. It contains Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, where continual military conflicts are taking place, and Bolivia which is in never-ending political crisis. Honduras is there, being notorious for its high crime level and attacks on tourists, as is Colombia, where the same applies and tourists can be kidnapped and can become the targets of terrorist actions. The list also includes Libya, Malaysia, Fiji and North Korea and, unfortunately, Georgia. Its unstable condition, enhanced by the fact it is next door to Russia, has given the country the reputation of being unattractive from a tourism point of view.
The Georgian Government well understands the importance of tourism for the country and tries to promote Georgia as a tourist destination in neighbouring countries. There should be no illusions that the country will soon regain the visitor numbers it had in 2007 or even the first half of 2008 but the Government is trying its best to at least stabilize the situation and improve the tourist infrastructure.