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The amount of visitors to mountain resorts during the winter season exceeded 500,000
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The year 2017 has been unprecedented for Georgian tourism. The number of visitors to the country reached 7.6 million which was 19% more as compared to the same figure of the previous year. Of the total number of visitors to Georgia, 46% were tourists (a visitor is any foreign traveller entering the country’s territory. A tourist is traveller who spends 24 hours or more in the country) which is 3.2 percentage points more as compared to the same figure of 2016. The trend of growth continues throughout 2018 as well.

In light of the improved statistics vis-à-vis visitors and tourists, FactCheck took interest in the 2017-2018 winter tourism figures. Together with the figures for mountain resorts, FactCheck will also review the statistics of visitors and tourists in Georgia during the winter season.

In accordance with the information of the Mountain Resorts Development Company, the tourist season at Georgia’s winter resorts generally comprises the months from December to March with the duration of the season differing for specific resorts.

In the 2017-2018 winter tourism season, 2,063,565 visitors entered Georgia which is 18% more as compared to the same figure of the previous year and is the highest number of the accounting period (2013-2018). The highest number of visitors to Georgia during the season was registered in December at 600,004 persons.

Of importance is that throughout 2013-2018, the number of visitors coming to Georgia during the winter season has been constantly growing. The growth rate of visitors is also changing.

 

Table 1: Visitors during Georgia’s Winter Tourist Season in 2013-2018 (thousand persons, %)

Years December January February March Total Growth Rate
2013-2014 392,628 320,005 295,434 394,884 1,402,951 7%
2014-2015 435,446 309,753 293,152 386,257 1,424,608 2%
2015-2016 465,985 323,159 360,402 451,737 1,601,283 12%
2016-2017 486,141 387,070 368,010 511,045 1,752,266 9%
2017-2018 600,004 444,241 440,806 578,514 2,063,565 18%

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia; Georgian National Tourism Administration

 

In the 2017-2018 winter season, 894,307 tourists entered Georgia which is 29.3% more as compared to the same figure of the previous years. The aforementioned figure, as well as the respective growth rate of those years, are the highest in the accounting period. Of the 2013-2018 period, the number of tourists coming to Georgia during the winter season dropped only once. This was in the 2014-2015 winter season when the figure fell by 5%. Since then, it has been constantly increasing.

 

Table 2: Tourists during Georgia’s Winter Tourist Season in 2013-2018 (thousand persons, %)

Years December January February March Total Growth Rate
2013-2014 145,642 122,996 108,685 144,934 522,257 -
2014-2015 145,946 111,908 101,046 136,389 495,289 -5%
2015-2016 155,048 116,369 120,215 170,835 562,467 14%
2016-2017 177,982 154,083 139,918 219,642 691,625 23%
2017-2018 234,969 189,476 177,845 292,017 894,307 29.3%

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia; Georgian National Tourism Administration

 

The statistics of visitors coming directly to Georgia’s winter resorts are published by the Mountain Resorts Development Company. The company uses the SKI DATA programme to calculate the number of tourists using the cable cars.

 

Table 3: Visitor Statistics from Georgia’s Winter Resort Cable Cars during the 2017-2018 Winter Tourist Season

Bakuriani Gudauri Goderdzi Hatsvali Tetnuldi Total
Number of visitors 132,704 345,997 10,283

35,890

524,874
Growth rate as compared to the previous season 15% 25% 129% 119% 122% 25%

Source: Mountain Resorts Development Company of Georgia

 

Of the total number of travellers to Georgia, 524,874 visitors visited mountain resorts during the 2017-2018 winter season which is 25% more as compared to the same figure of the previous year. Of these, the highest number of visitors was registered in Gudauri using the cable cars – at 345,997 visitors. This figure is 25% more as compared to the 2016 figure. The highest growth rate[1] was registered at the mountainous resort of Goderdzi in Ajara – at 129%. The number of visitors to Tetnuldi increased by 122% whilst the number of visitors to Mestia’s resorts of Tetnuldi and Hatsvali increased by 119%. Some 132,704 visitors were registered using Bakuriani’s cable cars which is 15% more as compared to 2016’s data.

Georgia’s tourism potential is constantly growing. The amount of tourism incomes also follow suit. In 2017, the total amount of tourism income constituted USD 2.8 billion which was 6.9% of Georgia’s gross domestic product (GDP) of the year.

 

[1] In the cases of Goderdzi, Hatsvali and Tetnuldi, the growth rate has been significantly affected by the low base effect.

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