Georgia’s Foreign Ministry has released a statement over Booking.com referring to Georgia’s breakaway, western Abkhazia region, as a separate country.
Georgia contacts booking.com over separatist regions
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 9
The Ministry claimed the problem has been settled, and the de facto region would be listed an integral part of Georgia.
Booking.com is a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine for lodging reservations of Dutch origin.
Since 2005, it has been owned and operated by United States-based The Priceline Group.
The website lists approximately 1,200,000 properties in 225 countries and books 1,200,000 room nights per day. The site is available in 43 languages.
In 2013, the site accounted for more than two thirds of the revenue of The Priceline Group.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has been co-operating with Booking.com for years.
“As a result of this co-operation, the occupied region of Abkhazia and its towns are identified as part of Georgia in the search function of the website in up to 40 languages,” Georgia’s Foreign Ministry says.
The Ministry announced only several versions of the website did not refer to Abkhazia as part of Georgia.
“The Ministry has already contacted the company, which agreed to update the website and to put right all technical errors in compliance with international law,” the Ministry added.
The Ministry works with the Airbnb Company in the same direction.
In general, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia closely follows all cases when Georgia’s occupied regions are referred to as individual countries on various websites. In most cases these are technical errors, which the companies – except for Russian ones – are ready to correct, the Ministry stated.
Georgia’s de facto Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions were recognised as independent states by Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru and Venezuela in the wake of the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.
The rest of international community considers the regions as parts of Georgia.