Jesper Black, the Six Millionth Tourist of Georgia, is leaving the country

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The FINANCIAL — After being welcomed by the Former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvilito dinner, the video of his arrival was watched over 7.5 million times in 3 different languages on Facebook, doing a great service tothe promotion of Georgia’s tourism worldwide.

Jesper quickly become a celebrity in Georgia, and moved from his home in Barcelona to Tbilisi to become a participant of the 7th season of Dancing with the Stars, where he was partnered with VerkaJajanidze. The dancing was not a great success though, and Jesper and Verka were eliminated in the 4th round, leaving the show in favour of AleksandraPaichadze and her partner.

After the show, Jesper loved Georgia so much that he decided to stay and live in Tbilisi to make it his home, and started working for the First Channel as a director and scriptwriter for Eurovision Junior, under the supervision of SergiGvarjaladze.

During his two years in Georgia, Jesper displayed his love for the country very often, travelling to all of the different regions and making beautiful videos and publishing them both on Facebook and YouTube, where they became very popular.

He writes: “For the last two years, you have been my warm, beautiful, welcoming home. It has been very strange at times. It has been very great at times. Now though, it is time to leave and say goodbye to Georgia, with all of these great memories, adventures, and experiences in my pocket, and move on to the next adventure. Didi Madloba, Sakartvelo. Miyvarxar.”

After his announcement, Jesper also stated that he is making a documentary about what it is like to become famous, and that he is looking for funding for this on a fundraising website Indiegogo. Details can be found below.

Q. Why have you decided to leave the country?

A. I have had a very great but strange journey here in Georgia. I came in April 2017 to participate in Dancing with the Stars, and was planning to move back to Barcelona after that finished, but loved Georgia so much that I decided to stay. In my 2 years here I have travelled all over the country and have experienced so many great things, people have been very kind and welcoming. I do feel though that it is time for the next adventure, and I am looking forward to everything on the road ahead.

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Q. What did you like most during your stay in Georgia?

A. The freedom and adventure. The sense of freedom and adventure that this country offers is unparalleled to anything and any place I have ever lived. To get out of Tbilisi and drive a couple of hours into the complete wilderness, the beautiful nature and the great food is truly a wonderful thing. I grew up in The Netherlands, a very densely populated country with no mountains, so to be here and be able to basically do whatever you want is something that I have really cherished over the past two years. That and the wine…

Q. What are the most negative things you have encountered in Georgia?

A. The traffic, and the way people drive. It’s a funny thing, Georgians all over the world are known for their warmth and hospitality, but somehow manage to forgot all about that the moment they step into their car. People drive very dangerously, I have seen so many accidents that wouldn’t have happened had people driven more slowly or considerately. Just today I have friends telling me that their friend just died in an accident, and this happens so often. It is not necessary, and it needs to stop. Georgia has to somehow regulate and enforce more firm driving regulations in order to stop people dying.

Q. What is your suggestion for the travel industry?

A. Smile. Service is king everywhere you go. Many restaurants here in Georgia have no idea what (good) service is. A smile on the face of the waiter makes all the difference. Customers leave happy and most likely leave a tip as well. Everyone wins.

Q. What would your suggestion be for the local authorities?

A. If I could say one thing to Kakha Kaladze, it would be this: Please fix the traffic problem, Kakha. It’s time…Tbilisi has both a traffic and a parking problem: there are too many cars on the roads, too little parking places, too little enforcement of the rules, and too many people not caring about it. As a result, people park their cars on the pavements, on the road, and wherever they can, blocking traffic even further. The already heavily polluted city air of Tbilisi gets dirtier and dirtier every day, and in the long run the people are going to pay the price with their health for breathing in exhaust fumes everyday. It is not a good legacy to have as a mayor. It needs to be fixed.

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Q. Do you have dual citizenship? (Georgian?)

A. I do not.

Q. What is your real name and surname? Jesper Zwart?

A. Jesper Zwart is my Dutch name, Zwart means black in Dutch. Seeing how many people already have so much trouble with my first name (it’s Jesper, not Jasper), I’ve taken Black as my stage name.

So right now, I have about two weeks left in Georgia and I am using this to work on a documentary about fame. Some people chase it and would love to be in the spotlight. Other people don’t care and would rather stay anonymous. Me, I happened to get famous by accident, and it made me pose the question what fame really means. What is the value of it, what are the things that are truly important, is fame something we should be chasing as a society? Part of the film will be recorded here, in Georgia, and part of it will be recorded in The Netherlands.

One last thing: although I am looking forward to moving back home to my family and my friends in The Netherlands, I am extremely grateful for what Georgia has done for me. I have my family here, and Georgia will always be in my heart. Also… I will be back!

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