The FINANCIAL — Irakli Gharibashvili: “In the last two-and-a-half years, the number of visitors reached 13.5 million. This is a better result than the one we had for the last seven years.”
At the session of the Government of Georgia, the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, stated: “The number of international travellers to Georgia in the period from October 2012, including April 2015, reached 13.5 million. In the last two-and-a-half years, we registered a better result than in the previous seven years. We see a lot of positives here.”
According to the information of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the number of visitors to Georgia increased by 3.5% in the first six months of 2015. This number was 2% in 2014 and 26% in 2013.
Irakli Gharibashvili compared the number of visitors who entered Georgia from October 2012 until May 2015 to the number of the previous seven years. There were 13,453,875 visitors to Georgia from October 2012 up until May 2015. In regard to the previous seven years (from October 2005 until October 2012), the total number of visitors to Georgia was 12,885,377.
The Prime Minister uses the period October 2012 to April 2015 from the time of the Georgian Dream government’s coming into power until present day. Obviously, the new government cannot claim credit for the number of visitors coming to Georgia in 2012 as the elections took place towards the end of the year, in October 2012. Therefore, a more logical comparison would be to take the number of international visitors coming to Georgia in 2013. This particular comparison illustrates that there were 12,743,407 visitors to Georgia under the rule of the incumbent government whilst the number of visitors was 13,887,438 during the previous seven years (2006-2012). Thus, there were 1,144,031 more visitors to Georgia in the period of 2006-2012 than in the period of 2013 to April 2015.
It must be noted that the calculation of international visitors to Georgia and making an analysis of respective trends thereto is incorrect. Whether or not Georgia has a positive trend in terms of its rising number of international visitors is defined by the annual growth in terms of percentage. For Georgia, there has been a high annual percentage growth since 2005 which increased the number of visitors to the country from 500,000 to 5.5 million.
As illustrated by the graph, beginning from 2006 the lowest growth rates in the number of visitors to Georgia are registered in 2014 and 2015.
For a broader picture, we can analyse the average annual growth (%) in the number of visitors to Georgia in the period of 2006-2012 and the growth rate since the end of 2012. In the period of 2006-2012, the average annual growth rate of visitors to Georgia was 35% whilst the growth rate was 10% in 2014 and 2015. Of course, a country cannot possibly have such an enormous increase every year, as that which occurred in 2012 (57%), but when the number falls from 26% to 2%, this, as well, cannot be considered as a positive trend.
We can say that both the method of calculation employed by the Prime Minister and the numbers and periods in his statement are wrong. Therefore, Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement is FALSE.