The FINANCIAL — During the first two days of August 28,535 tourists visited Batumi, the Black Sea city of Georgia. Among them more than 12,000 were foreign tourists, according to the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara.
Georgia’s first ever MTV Live music event featuring global superstar Enrique Iglesias contributed to the rise in the number of tourists in the region.
“In total 400,000 tourists visited Adjara in June and July,” Vaja Diasamidze, Head of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara told The FINANCIAL. “More than 150,000 tourists came from abroad. We’re expecting another 350-400,000 tourists by the end of August. So far in 2011 5-6 great concerts have been held in Batumi. 5-6 more concerts are being held in August and a large scale New Year Show too,” Diasamidze added.
Most of the tourists that visited Adjara came from Turkey, Armenia and Iran. Out of 400,000 tourists 50,000 came from Turkey, 38,000 from Armenia, 20,000 from Azerbaijan, 9,000 from Iran, 4,000 from Ukraine, 3,500 from Israel, 3,500 from Russia and others from Western Europe and America. The number of tourists from the US and UK has increased as well.
MTV Live Georgia was a free concert and no entrance tickets were required. This contributed in part to the high number of tourists that visited Batumi.
As Diasamidze said, 5,000 tourists visited Batumi during the Chris Botti and Sting concert. “All tickets were sold out. There were limited places. 2,500 people attended the concert,” said Diasamidze.
A 36 meter-high stage construction was installed on Europe Square. 200 technicians were brought to Batumi for this.
Due to the capacity of Europe Square, MTV Live Georgia concert goers were given access to a first come, first served basis while many more were able to watch on giant screens erected in Batumi at The Boulevard and also in Theatre Square. 12 thousand turned out to be lucky as they arrived first from 5 to 7 o’clock. According to concert organizers, more than 50,000 people watched the concert from giant screens. After a week in 152 countries more than 600,000 viewers will be able to watch the MTV Live Georgia concert for 2 months.
“People in Armenia and Azerbaijan believe that Georgia is a country which you simply must visit. In the post Soviet space and in the Caucasus, we can safely say that Georgia is the only country where such a great event can be held,” said Ia Tabagari, Chairwoman of the Georgian Incoming Tour Operators Association.
MTV Live Georgia was set to attract thousands of young Georgian and foreign music fans. Dressed in jeans with a silver chain, double t-shirts and his favourite baseball cap – the Latin singer hosted MTV’s first event – MTV Live Georgia.
Enrique Iglesias performed 13 hits. He was backed by local Georgian mega-stars Eldrine, Sofia Nizharadze, Stephane & 3G plus DJs Bero and Zhorjick.
Before Enrique Iglesias, jazzman Chris Botti and British musician Sting held a concert in Batumi, at Piazza. Tickets for this concert cost 90 and 380 GEL. An average of 2,000 people can fit the Piazza.
This was a charity concert. The money was to go to the Oncology Prevention Centre. Rema Gamichava, head of the Centre confirmed the information: “About 10 days ago we received 340,000 GEL from the Chris Botti and Sting charity concert. This money will be used to treat cancer patients in the country,” said Gamichava.
Tourist agency Kapitani+ offered a tourism package for the event. The maximum price of the package was 530 GEL. “None of the tourism packages were sold,” said Giorgi Shelia, the founder of Kapitani+. “As the ticket price was very high it meant that only wealthy people bought it. These people preferred to stay in high level hotels such as the Sheraton and Intourist. Our tourism package was aimed more at the average middle class consumer,” explained Shelia.
Starting with the New Year concert with Andrea Bocelli and finishing with MTV Live Georgia, Batumi presented 5-6 shows to Georgia and the world this year. Among them was the Black Sea Jazz Festival Batumi 2011 with 26 groups and 150 artists performing. Ticket prices were 40, 60 and 90 GEL. The most expensive tickets sold were to Macy Gray’s performance.
“In general these types of music festivals, concerts and cultural events increase not only the number of local tourists, but also the number of international tourists,” said Maia Sidamonidze, Head of the Georgian National Tourism Agency. “Therefore it would be better for such events to be held in places that are naturally attractive to tourists. These events would be a form of entertainment and would also attract more tourists to the area,” Sidamonidze added.