The FINANCIAL - Giorgi Chogovadze on visitors

Giorgi Chogovadze on visitors

Giorgi Chogovadze on visitors

The FINANCIAL -- Giorgi Chogovadze:  “Compared to the same period of the previous year, the number of visitors grew by 14.7% and the number of tourists increased by 5% in May.”

As stated by the Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, Giorgi Chogovadze, despite the fact that Georgia has endured very severe political and economic factors over the last months, the number of visitors grew by 14.7% and the number of tourists increased by 5% in May 2015.

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

First of all and to clarify, a visitor is an individual who travels from his native or permanent environment to a certain place, stays there for less than a year and is not employed. Those visitors who spend at least one night in a specific place are qualified as tourists.

According to the information of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, there were 454,000 visitors to Georgia in May 2015 which represents a 14.7% increase as compared to the same period of the previous year. According to the data of the first five months of 2015, there were 1,835,000 visitors to Georgia in total which represents a 2% increase (35,000) as compared to the same period of the previous year.

In regard to the number of tourists, there were 164,000 tourists in Georgia in May 2015. Consequently, the number of tourists rose by 5% as compared to the same period of the previous year. However, according to the data of the first five months of 2015, the number of tourists decreased by 3% (23,427) as compared to the same period of the previous year.

FactCheck also took interest in the numbers of tourists from the countries with which Georgia introduced visa requirements in September 2014. From these 24 countries on the visa requirement list, an increase of visitors was registered only from India. The number of Indian citizens who entered Georgia rose by 10% in January-May of this year. The highest number of visitors from these visa requirement countries usually came from Iraq. However, after the first five months of 2015, the number of visitors from Iraq dropped by 93% which in nominal numbers represents 6,678 visitors.

FactCheck also took interest in the degree of impact had by the imposition of the new visa regulations and the introduction of electronic visas upon the number of visitors from those countries which have a visa regime with Georgia. We selected the top five countries in terms of their entries into Georgia. As illustrated by the table the trend of declining numbers of visitors from these countries still continues. It must also be noted that in the last five months the drop in the number of visitors has decreased slightly which might be due to some extent to the introduction of the electronic visas.

In regard to June’s data which was published after Giorgi Chogovadze’s statement, the number of visitors rose by 9.3% as compared to the same period of the last year and reached 496,000. 

Conclusion

According to the information of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the number of visitors for the first five months of 2015 reached 1,835,000 and represents a 2% increase as compared to the same period of the previous year. In regard to the number of visitors to Georgia, it dropped by 3% if we take the first five months of the year but registered a 5% increase if we compare May 2015 to May 2014.

In the wake of the imposition of strict visa regulations from 1 September 2014, the number of visitors from Iran, Iraq, China and Egypt remains decreased. However, according to the data of the first five months of 2015 the trend of decrease is slightly lower. 

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Chogovadze’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.