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'The loss is noticeable': Georgia's summer season hit by lack of Israeli tourists

‘The loss is noticeable’: Georgia’s summer season hit by lack of Israeli tourists

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“Bookings have been cancelled, and projections for new bookings are very low” according to one restauranteur.

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Georgia’s summer season has begun but a significant share of visitors are missing: Israelis.

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has meant Israelis are less able or unwilling to travel internationally. This drop in numbers is being felt in Georgia which usually welcomes many visitors from Israel.

“The loss is noticeable. The situation in the region has affected the number of tourists from Israel,” says Levan Giorgadze from Tbilisi Free Walking Tours.

“Compared to previous years, the number of tourists from Israel has decreased noticeably. I wouldn’t say that they don’t come at all anymore, it’s just, of course, in smaller quantities.”

Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is popular year-round with tourists, while the beaches along the Black Sea coast are a popular summer holiday destination.

Shota Burjanadze, Chairman of the Georgian Restaurateurs Association, expressed similar worries: “Bookings have been cancelled, and projections for new bookings are very low. Therefore, unfortunately, this year will not live up to expectations.”

But not everyone agrees. Maia Omiadze, Head of Georgia’s Tourist Association, believes the summer will be busy, bustling and successful. She notes that the 15 places from which tourists visit the most include Georgia‘s neighbouring countries, Persian Gulf nations and the European Union.

“The data for the first quarter of 2024 was very positive. This result allows us to have high expectations and to assume that the second quarter, the summer season and the general trend towards the end of the year in the tourism industry will be very positive,” she says.

“We expected tourists mainly from Asia, Persian Gulf and European countries. European countries made up 5% of the total number. Today, tourists are mainly expected to visit Adjara and are largely coming from our neighbouring countries, Turkey, Armenia and Russia,” Maia adds.

Office for National Statistics data for the first quarter of 2024 shows these nations still hold the top three places for the most number of visitors to Georgia.

Watch the video above to see more about Georgia’s tourism industry in 2024.



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