The FINANCIAL -- Turkey is the top destination for Georgian tourists. The devaluation of the GEL has increased air ticket prices by over 10%. However, the demand from Georgians for trips abroad remains stable. The number of passengers served by Georgian airports has increased by over 5% this year.
“As the most popular destination for Georgians, Turkey is followed by Egypt, Greece, Spain and Italy. The selection criteria for the most popular destinations for Georgians are different. Single people are prone to prioritizing active entertainment spots, while families prefer more family-type leisure. Some are looking for the best beaches, others for a green environment. Price matters as well,” Ella Karapetyan, Director of travel agency BusinessTravelCom, told The FINANCIAL.
According to Karapetyan, the GEL devaluation has resulted in a hike in air ticket prices by over 10%. “We are offering travel packages, early booking, as well as last minute tours which all enable travellers to purchase packages at cheaper prices. The demand has been slightly reduced this year, in comparison with the prior-year period. However, the season still lies ahead and we are optimistic that the demand will increase.”
“Turkey has always been and will probably remain one of the most popular destinations for Georgian travellers. The affordable prices and wide range of charter flights are one of the main advantages of Turkey. We offer trips to the Antalya region, as well as Kusadasi, Marmaris, Bodrum and Istanbul,” said Karapetyan.
According to the Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia (GCAA), during the first five months of 2015 the number of passengers that departed from Georgian airports (Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and Mestia) amounted to 346,899. The number of arrivals was 341,205, making a total of 688,104.
The number was 30,417 (or 4.4% less) in the same period of the previous year. During January-May 2014 Georgian airports served 657,687 passengers. In total, 333,955 were departing passengers, and 323,732 - arrivals.
The top ten countries by number of departures are as follows: Turkey (115,036); Russia (48,939); Ukraine (42,125); the UAE (17,939); Poland (12,892); Germany (12,368); Belarus (12,306); Israel (10,735); Qatar (10,597); and Kazakhstan (9,958).
The top ten countries by passenger arrivals are: Turkey (112,223); Russia (48,213); Ukraine (42,290); the UAE (18,935); Belarus (13,008); Poland (12,154); Germany (11,991); Israel (11,172); Kazakhstan (9,652); and Qatar (7,911).
The top ten air companies in terms of number of passengers are: Turkish Airlines (157,992); International Airlines of Ukraine (67,064); Georgian Airways (56,638); Pegasus (41,720); Wizz Air Hungary (37,704); Siberia Airlines (28,382); Aeroflot (26,599); AtlasGlobal (27,555); Belavia (25,314); and Lufthansa (24,359).
Arabian air company Etihad Airways plans to add Georgia to its destination list from October 2015. There are currently 29 air companies flying to Georgia.
The FINANCIAL asked BusinessTravelCom to create a guide of the top destinations and provide average prices per trip, which are listed below. Meanwhile, the main recommendation for saving on expenses is to buy a tour package rather than plan the entire trip oneself.
The tour package to Turkey, specifically the Antalya region (Alanya, Kemer, Side, Belek), varies depending on number of hotel stars. The average cost of a trip to a 4-star hotel per person is USD 350. This includes: a direct flight to Antalya, airport transfer, travel insurance, and an ‘all inclusive’ hotel stay. As for the Bodrum region (Kushadas, Marmaris), the cost for a tour package to a 4-star hotel is USD 570.
Egypt is the second top destination among Georgians. A week’s trip to a 4-star hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh will cost you USD 350. The price is slightly different for Hurgada. The cost for a trip to a 4-star hotel there is USD 380. The tour package to Egypt includes: direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurgada, airport transfer, travel insurance, and an all inclusive hotel stay.
European resorts are more interesting because travellers can pick up a lot of interesting internal tours or walk around the nearby islands. They can also look down on the city’s sights. Restful as well as active tours to Europe are offered to Georgian customers. Rhodes and Santorini are the most attractive Greek islands to Georgians.
There are direct flights to Athens and Thessaloniki. When purchasing a trip’s package the agency offers direct registration to the consulate, eliminating the need to queue.
Greece has great diversity and a range of places and landscapes that cannot be found together anywhere else. Here you will find something of everything. It’s like having a miniature world, where everything is included: from countless beautiful islands and famously-awarded beaches, to huge snow-covered mountains, great forests and spectacular castle-cities.
A trip to Greece can include: an all inclusive stay, half board, as well as bed and breakfast options.
Rhodes Island is bordered by two seas: the Aegean in the West and the Mediterranean in the East. Rhodes is not just about the long and beautiful beaches, or the 300 days of sunshine it offers. You can find sea and sand all over Greece, whereas in Rhodes visitors can find monuments and evidence of the long history scattered all over the island, and in almost any place one goes there is history and mythology to be discovered.
Some of the most important historical sights and monuments include: the Acropolis of Lindos; the Acropolis of Rhodes; ancient Ialysos; ancient Kamiros; the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes; the Medieval City of Rhodes and the Palace of the Grand Masters; Elaphos and Elaphina Hotel; the castle of Monolithos; the castle of Kritinia; and the castle of Feraklos in Haraki.
The price per week at a 4-star hotel, with all inclusive services, varies from EUR 750 to EUR 900.
Santorini is hailed as the most beautiful island of the Aegean and one of the most gorgeous spots on the planet. A 4-star hotel stay with all inclusive service varies from EUR 650 to EUR 820.
If you decide to visit Spain, you will be charged over EUR 750 for an all inclusive 4-star hotel stay. The price includes air tickets and hotel accommodation.
Immerse yourself in Barcelona, from the cramped alleyways of the Barri Gótic (Gothic quarter) to the 19th-century Eixample quarter, where many Gaudi buildings lie. Stroll along the Rambla and on to old Barceloneta and the seafront. Sights include the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), the Seu (old cathedral), the Episcopal Palace and the Palau de la Generalitat. Take the funicular to Tibidabo or a cable car to Montjuic.
The Costa Brava is made up of many small resort towns. Among them are Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar and Blanes.
Air ticket, airport transfer and all inclusive 4-star hotel accommodation will cost one around EUR 750-850 in Italy. Capri, Sardinia and Tuscany are the most popular Italian islands with Georgians.
There is so much to see in Capri, from the colourful port of Marina Grande to the glamorous Piazzetta where the world’s beautiful people hang out; from the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’ villas to the Charterhouse of San Giacomo and the spectacular Via Krupp. You can take the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro. You can walk along paths leading to incredible rock formations such as the Natural Arch and the Faraglioni. You can marvel at the glimmering blue of the Grotta Azzurra. By visiting the famous restaurant La Capannina you may meet lots of local and world popular famous people.
Sardinia is a resort for more active leisure. Long sandy and small rocky beaches, as well as beach activities for every taste combine perfectly with the mountainous terrain, and are conducive to long walks.
Tuscany is a beautiful resort that combines all the pleasures of a beach holiday and cultural tourism. A great choice for families, for a romantic getaway for two or a honeymoon.