The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, August 8
Tourists flock to Georgia this summer

Georgia is fast becoming a tourist destination by guests from all over the globe with latest figures revealing more than 2.9 million visitors spent time in Georgia this year. The country’s inviting summer weather was a draw-card for many guests and visitor numbers continued to increase as the summer season progressed. The latest data revealed about 2,000 more tourists came to Georgia in July than the previous month. Figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs Informative-Analytical Department stated Georgia hosted 670,256 visitors in July 2014. This total was nine percent higher than in July 2013.Meanwhile 2,913,618 visitors spent time in the country in the first seven months of this year – a four percent increase on the same time in 2013.More than a third of people who came to Georgia were tourists – 1,191,815, which was 41 percent of the total guest rate. This was 11 percent higher than the same time last year. Of the total guests, 19 percent of people who came to Georgia were in transit – 552,556 – which was a four percent drop on 2013, and 1,169,247 people came to Georgia for "other” reasons, which was 40 percent of the total amount of visitors and a 0.7 percent decrease on 2013 figures. Total figures for 2014 revealed the highest number of visitors came from Turkey (three percent decrease compared to 2013), Azerbaijan (35 percent increase), Armenia (2 percent decrease), Russia (13.3 percent increase) and Ukraine (33 percent increase). In addition, a positive trend continued as more visitors from European Union (EU) member states travelled to Georgia. Visitors from Lithuania in 2014 increased by 88 percent, Poland by 47 percent, Austria by 17 percent, Italy by 13 percent and Latvia by 17 percent. When discussing visitors from Asia, most visitors came from Kazakhstan (39 percent increase on 2013), while the largest number of guests from an Eastern European country were from Belarus, which saw a 57 percent increase on the same time last year. (

“You are symbolic of a shameless and immoral judge”

The verbal confrontation took place between Georgia’s former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and judge Giorgi Goginashvili in the courtroom on Wednesday.

According to Merabishvili, Giorgi Goginashvili will not be an impartial judge, as he sentenced former Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava to imprisonment on July 4.

“You are symbolic of a shameless and immoral judge. No one has ever made such a rotten decision in Georgia”, Merabishvili told Giorgi Goginashvili. (Frontnews)

Russia closes transit routes for Ukrainian airlines through its territory to Georgia

Russia has decided to close transit routes for Ukrainian airlines through its territory in a number of other countries. This was announced by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Censor.NET reports citing RIA Novosti.

"Russia is suspending transit of Ukrainian airlines through Russian airspace to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey," he said Thursday at a government meeting.

Medvedev also stated that Russia is also considering the ban of transit flights for EU and U.S. airlines to the Asia-Pacific region, Reuter’s reports. (IPN)

U.S. Senators send a letter to Georgian Prime Minister

American Senators have sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Georgia. The letter sent by James Risch, Marco Rubio, Jeanne Shaheen and John McCain is dated with August 1st, but it has not been published by the government on its website so far. The letter was published by the newspaperTabula today.

The U.S. Senators congratulate the government of Georgia on the signature and ratification of the Association Agreement with the European Union, as an important step in Georgia`s development as a democratic nation, but they still disapprove some recent developments, including filing charges against former president Mikheil Saakashvili and six other officials of his government.

`The most recent and highest profile example of this is the filing of charges against former president Mikheil Saakashvili and six members of his government on July 28, 2014. Wrongdoing by any Georgian official, past or present, should be seriously investigated and dealt with under the law in fair, transparent, and impartial manner. However, as Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt noted recently, the arrest of Mr. Ugulava `seems contract to Georgia`s previous commitment to the rule of law`, and we are concerned his arrest is not the only case. Consistently, attempting to advance cases through the media also speaks poorly of the intent of prosecution, ` the senators wrote in the letter. (Rustavi 2)

Seismologists say there was nothing dangerous in yesterday’s two earthquakes

Seismologists say there was nothing dangerous in the two earthquakes that took place in Georgia on August 6. The Ilia Chavchavadze State University Seismic Monitoring Center told InterPressNews that earthquakes are a common seismologic process in Georgia.

"Small earthquakes are a normal occurrence and there is nothing alarming. Weak quakes are frequent in Oni and Dmanisi. They mainly happen in uninhabited areas," said Zurab Djavakhishvili, the head of the Ilia Chavchavadze State University Seismic Monitoring Center.

Two earthquakes took place in Georgia on August 6. The epicenter of the 3.6-gantidude earthquake was near Dmanisi, while the epicenter of another,

3.5-magnitude earthquake was near Oni. (IPN)

Georgians injured in bus accident in Turkey

There was an accident on Wednesday in Rize, Turkey, which left ten passengers injured, including citizens of Georgia.

Representatives of the Health Ministry of Adjara left for Turkey to see citizens of Georgia.

According to Deputy Health Minister Levan Gorgiladze, a light vehicle crushed a bus in Rize. Five passengers were taken to a university clinic, five to the hospital in Rize.

None of the passengers were seriously injured.

He said the details and causes for the accident will be known when a delegation from Adjara arrives in Turkey.

Bus accidents in Turkey are frequent. Nineteen citizens of Georgia were injured in an accident in June. The driver of the bus, who was a Turkish citizen, died as a result of the accident. There were 42 passengers in the bus, all Georgians.

In January, a bus skid and turned over as result of which 21 passengers died and 29 were injured (DF watch)