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How much do tourists spend in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 8
During his recent presentation of the government’s 10 point plan for the near future, PM Nika Gilauri stated that visitors arriving in Georgia spend around USD 250 per day. Independent analysts challenge this assertion quoting officials who just last year estimated this figure at USD 160. The analysts make very simple calculations. As the statistical department notes, in 2010 more than 2 mln tourists entered Georgia and they spent approximately ten days in the country each. Statistics mentioned by the Prime Minister would lead one to believe that they would, therefore, have spent around USD 3 bln. So according to new calculations in 2011 if three million tourists enter Georgia as the officials say then the country should receive more than USD 5 bln at the end of this year. How realistic these figures are is difficult to estimate at this moment. It is understandable that the government wants to boost its achievements in the tourism industry, but how correct the methodology of calculating tourists’ entry into the country is another question. Until recently, everyone crossing the Georgian border was called a tourist, however as a transit country Georgia hosts hundreds of motor vehicles, transiting Georgia while carrying cargo from Turkey to Azerbaijan and Armenia and back. Obviously, they are not tourists and they do not spend much money in the country. They may visit relatives and friends who are not tourists either. To accurately calculate the number of actual tourists visiting Georgia, more accurate figures are needed.