Giorgi Kvirikashvili: “More than 6,350,000 international travelers visited Georgia in 2016, whilst the tourism income exceeded USD two billion.”

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The FINANCIAL — At the session of the Government of Georgia, the Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, talked about the positive trends in the field of tourism. The Prime Minister stated: “The number of tourists, coming to Georgia, increased by half a million, whilst the income from tourism exceeded USD two billion.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

According to the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, there were 6,351,000 visitors to Georgia in 2016, which is 7.6% more as compared to the previous year. If we take a look at the trend of growth of  the number of visitors to Georgia, we will see that since 2006 up until the present day the number of international visitors has been rising annually. However, in 2014 the growth rate dropped sharply (to 2.3%) and the wrong visa policy, pursued by the Government of Georgia, was partly to blame for that. Since 2015, the number of visitors started to grow again and the growth rate reached 7%. At the same time, the growth rate registered in 2015-2016 is still lower as compared to the growth rate before 2014.

Graph 1:  Number of Visitors and Growth Rate

The important fact is that of total number of visitors to Georgia in 2016, 2,715,000 were tourists (visitors, who remains in a country for more than 24 hours), which is 19% more as compared to the previous year,

In regard to tourism income, according to the data of the first three quarters of 2016, tourism field generated USD 1.7 billion, which is 12% more as compared to the same period of the previous year. Of note is that the data of the fourth quarter of 2016 has not been published yet, however, taking into consideration the figures of the previous three quarters and high growth rate as compared to the previous year, we can assume that total tourism income in 2016 does exceed USD 2 billion.

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Table 2:  Tourism Income (USD thousand)

Conclusion

There were 6,351,000 international visitors to Georgia in 2016, which is 7.6% more as compared to the previous year. Of note is that 42% of visitors were tourists.

In regard to tourism income, according to the data of the first three quarters of 2016, tourism field generated USD 1.7 billion, which is 12% more as compared to the same period of the previous year. The figures of the fourth quarter of 2016 has not been published yet, though the growth rate registered in the first three quarters allows us to assume that tourism income in 2016 does exceed USD two billion.

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s statement is TRUE.

 

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