Georgia Celebrates a Successful 2010 with a Variety of New Year Activities
By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, December 30
2010 has been a successful year for tourism development in Georgia, Maia Sidamonidze Head of the Tourism National Agency said in her annual summary on December 29th. Talking of her “ambitious” start at her position earlier this year, Sidamonidze said she had supposed that the number of tourists would have reached 2 million by the end of the year, while the real number of visitors has actually exceeded her expectations. Sharing her plans for elevating Georgia’s popularity among foreigners, Sidamonidze hopes that the number of tourists will increase to 3 million in 2011.
While speaking about successful projects carried out by the agency, Sidamonidze told the media about a variety of changes planned for the upcoming year. Regional offices, tourism informational centers, and educational trainings have all been named among the successful projects of the year, while more wide-scale initiatives would be implemented in 2011. Unbelievable success has been made in tourist infrastructural development through the innovation of Kvareli Lake, the establishment of a skiing centre in Mestia, the modernization of Sataplia reserve and Prometheus Cave, the opening of the transnational Batumi Sheraton Hotel and the Tbilisi Holiday Inn, the formation of the Kobuleti-Anaklia free industrial zones as well as the appearance of an economic airline (Pegasus) on the Georgian market.
2010 has also been important for Georgia on an international level. Georgia was represented at 14 international and 2 local tourism exhibitions, one of which was held in China – Expo 2010. By signing a memorandum with the UN World Tourism Organization, Georgia has promoted our country as the leader of the region. Carrying out targeted marketing campaigns for drawing tourists’ attention to our country had also been achieved through festivals at sea and mountainous resorts, including 20 press tours for international media.
It’s also interesting to mention that the capital, Tbilisi, has been among the favorite tourist destinations all year round followed by Batumi, Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Gori, Sighnaghi and Kazbegi. According to the annual summary report made by the National Tourism Agency, 78% of the foreign visitors coming to Georgia were from the neighboring countries of Azerbaijan (479,377), Armenia (488,461) and Turkey (485,137), while the number of Russia tourists was 158,421.
There are always special preparations in Tbilisi and Batumi for New Year. The capital of Georgia is full of light and joy. People are hurrying from their jobs to buy presents for their families. There is a great variety of New Year parties in Tbilisi, so everyone can choose how to welcome 2011. According to information from the Tourism Department of Adjara, they are planning unforgettable concerts with the participation of the world-renowned Italian Tenor, Andrea Bocelli. All the hotels in Adjara have been reserved by guests who plan to attend the New Year festivities. Besides Batumi, guests will visit Kobuleti, Gonio and Chakvi hotels as well. According to the head of the Tourism Department of Adjara Temur Diasamidze, clubs have invited foreign and Georgian DJs that will offer special programs, while cafes, restaurants and other entertainment centers will operate at full-capacity.
New Year festivities will start in Batumi on New Year's Eve and will resume for the next 3 days. There will be a Popular Promenade on the European Square on January 2nd. The head of the Tourism Agency added that the Batumi commercial has been aired on Ukrainian TV and the relevant materials have been published in the Turkish news edition with the highest circulation. Those who stay in Tbilisi can attend the special showing of Georgian singers which will surely provide an interesting open-air party on Freedom Square.