The FINANCIAL — Intercontinental, the leading Georgian tour operator, winner of Golden Brand 2009, predicts client numbers of around 2,000-2,500 this summer. “Intercontinental added charter flights to Egypt in 2009 which was quite successful. By this we managed to be quite competitive and gain a larger share of the market,” said Nino Makhviladze, General Director of Tour Operator Intercontinental.
At present the company is actively involved in developing new packages and offerings for their clients.
“Intercontinental’s main goal is to offer new and interesting countries for the summer, which will be quite competitive and could replace Turkey as the main holiday destination for Georgians.
We believe its time that Georgian tour operators offered a variety of choices to customers. The region of Turkey, in particular Antalya, is just not enough,” said Makhviladze.
The tours will include visiting different places and will be full of exciting events.
According to Makhviladze the prices for new tours will not significantly differ from prices for Turkey packages, however, still the main determinants of package prices mainly depend on the chosen category of hotel.
“Intercontinental together with two huge tour operators sent 4,600 Georgian tourists to Turkey during the three months of summer 2009, and this is according to the number of only those who took charter flights to Turkey,” said Makhviladze.
European Countries, Dubai and Cuba are among the most popular destinations for the clients of Intercontinental. In winter demand for Egypt increased significantly.
“Demand is usually governed by special offerings, low and competitive prices offered by Intercontinental,” said Makhviladze.
Intercontinental was named a Golden Brand 2009 in the nomination of tour operator, for the third time.
“Intercontinental is distinguished by its high quality and individual focus on each client,” said Makhviladze.
“The internal success of a company is governed by the right management. Moreover, economic conditions are vital for business development. The more people that are economically guaranteed, the more the tourism sphere can develop.”
“The economic crisis had significant effects on the company’s development and strategy. If the company’s main target market was above-average income people before the crisis, after the economic situation took hold, the company was forced to work with lower rates. Moreover, the segment of our clients also changed.”
Intercontinental was founded in 1991. From the very beginning the company was sending tourists to destinations including European countries and the Caribbean Islands. It soon realized that such packages were difficult to organize and had less benefit. The company made the decision to start developing more accessible packages such as to Turkey, Egypt and Asian countries.
“If together with private business, the Government becomes actively involved in promoting tourism, and the interest and attitude will be high, then tourism will have the perspective to develop in Georgia,” Makhviladze said.
“As for internal tourism, what is of vital importance is that infrastructure is now developing in Georgia. There should be strong cooperation between hotel management and tour operators. They should be afford to motivate us to invest in advertising and bring foreign tourists to Georgia.”
According to Makhviladze the prices of hotels are quite high in Georgia and provide some obstacles for tourism development within the country.
“The management of world brand hotels in Georgia, like the Radisson and Sheraton, have the strategy to not reduce prices as they are well-known international brands. However, there are some local hotels that can lower their prices. Moreover, the high prices of air tickets to Georgia increase the total value of packages for tourists,” Makviladze explained.
“I always travel with Intercontinental. What I like most is the quality of service, and the attitude of my employees towards their work, there are several things I would like to change and we are taking the appropriate steps to improve those areas and move forward.”