Tourism Market Watch

Sector research is one of the key directions of Galt & Taggart Research. We currently provide coverage of Energy, Healthcare, Tourism, Agriculture, Wine, and Real Estate sectors in Georgia. As part of our tourism sector coverage, we produce a monthly Tourism Market Watch, adapted here for Georgia Today’s readers. Previous reports on the sector can be found on Galt & Taggart’s website -

For second consecutive year, winter in Georgia starts early

Gudauri, Goderdzi, and Bakuriani ski resorts opened to visitors over December 10-12, thanks to early snow. Tetnuldi and Hatsvali resorts opened on December 17th, while Kokhta-Mitarbi will open on December 23rd.

Mountain infrastructure and facilities becoming more attractive for visitors

The new 1,200m Mestia-Hatsvali chairlift became operational on December 23. The chairlift connects the Hatsvali ski resort with Mestia, eliminating the need to use road transportation to get to the slopes. Furthermore, five shorter ski lifts will be installed in the villages (Mazeri, Etseri, Ushkvanari, Lentekhi, and Ushguli) of Svaneti.

According to 2018 draft state budget, GEL 60.0mn to be allocated for Kobi-Gudauri project

The 7.5km Kobi-Gudauri air lift, connecting the Gudauri ski resort with Kazbegi, is expected to be finalized in 2018. In addition, GEL 12.0mn will be allocated for the creation of an artificial lake in Gudauri. The lake will be used for snowmaking purposes, extending the winter season at the resort.

First international branded hotel in Georgian winter resorts now open

Best Western Plus Bakuriani added 70 rooms to the resort’s accommodation stock. Radisson Blu in Gudauri and Ramada Resort in Goderdzi are also expected to be completed by end-2018. Adjara Group Hospitality has announced development plans for the Kokhta-Mitarbi resort. A new Rooms Hotel property, with a ski-in ski-out concept, and residential apartments will be built at the base of Kokhta Gora during the first phase of the project in 2018, while the second phase entails developing a tourist zone in Mitarbi. Notably, for the first time, Kokhta and Mitarbi ski areas connected to each other with a new ski piste.

Georgia aims to host first major winter sport event, needs require significant sports infrastructure development

Georgia submitted an application to host the FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Championship in 2023 and will compete with France and Finland. The host country will be selected at the FIS Congress in May 2018.

Number of int’l arrivals up 14.1% y/y to 0.52mn in November 2017

Of the top four source markets, Russia was the top performer (+35.2% y/y), while Armenia (+7.2% y/y) and Azerbaijan (+11.2% y/y) also posted solid growth. The number of visitors from Turkey also increased (+6.8% y/y) for the fifth consecutive month. Arrivals from the EU were down 1.0% y/y to over 14,000 visitors.

Number of int’l arrivals up 18.4% y/y to 6.95mn visitors in first 10 months

The number of visitors increased from all major source countries except Turkey (-3.2% y/y). The largest individual contributor to overall growth was Russia (+33.4% y/y), while Armenia and Azerbaijan also posted double-digit increases. The number of Iranian visitors was up 2.2x to over 307,000 visitors and surpassed the number of Ukrainian visitors (181,801).

Secondary source markets also post robust performances in first 11 months

Arrival growth from secondary (non-EU) source markets contributed 3.6ppts to the overall growth of 18.4% y/y. The number of Israeli visitors increased 36.2% y/y to over 121,000 visitors, while the number of visitors from Saudi Arabia was up 165.7% y/y to almost 56,000. Arrivals from the EU were up 22.6% y/y to over 307,000 visitors, with Germany, Poland, and UK accounting for a third of the growth.

Tourist category continues to drive arrival growth in November 2017

The number of overnight visitors (‘tourist’ category) was up 21.8% y/y and accounted for 38.4% of international arrivals. The transit category was also a major contributor (+33.4% y/y), while the number of same-day arrivals was roughly flat. The number of tourist arrivals in the first 11 months is up 27.6% y/y to 3.2mn, already surpassing the annual figure for 2016 by 0.5mn tourists.

Kakhaber Samkurashvili

25 December 2017 17:38