On 19 February 2015, in his speech at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, member of the United National Movement, Zurab Chilingarashvili, stated: "In Samtskhe-Javakheti, in general, and at Rabati Fortress, in particular, the number of tourists has decreased to a fourth of its former amount."

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

We contacted Zurab Chilingarashvili to obtain more detailed information. Mr Chilingarashvili said that he himself lives in Akhaltsikhe and it is a regular daily routine to see the town empty of tourists. He also emphasised that there are less and less visitors to the shops and cafés.

The number of visitors to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region in 2014 is not yet known as data are still being processed. In 2013, there were 180,273 international visitors to Samtskhe-Javakheti which constituted 3% of the total number of international visitors to Georgia that year. Of those, 17,153 visited Akhaltsikhe proper.

FactCheck

obtained statistical data from the Rabati Fortress Information Centre. The data have been compiled since December 2013. The available statistics cover only 14 months and, therefore, we used the data of 2013-2014 and January 2015.

Table 1: 

Number of Visitors to Rabati Fortress

Period

2013

2014

2015

January

184

129

February

60

March

310

April

1,137

May

1,729

June

2,586

July

3,033

August

1,877

September

277

October

196

November

103

December

215 88

As illustrated by the table, there were 88 tourists in total in December 2014 which constitutes a 59% drop as compared to the same period of the previous year. As for January 2015, the number of visitors to Rabati Fortress dropped by 30%.

FactCheck

also took interest in the statistics of the crossing of the Turkey-Georgia state border (Vale border check point).

Table 2: 

Statistics of Crossing the State Border (Vale)

Year

Number

Change in Percentage

2012

92,568

2013

129,474

40%

2014

87,666

-32%

It is possible to see that the number of visitors who crossed the border has been vastly reduced. There were 32% less visitors in 2014 than in 2013. Additionally, the number of visitors in 2014 is even less than in 2012.

Conclusion

At the present moment, there are no official statistical data on the number of visitors who came to Samtskhe-Javakheti in 2014. The only official source which could be used to gain a proper understanding about the situation in Samtskhe-Javakheti is the data of the crossing of the state border. The number of visitors who came to Georgia through the Vale border check point is 32% less as compared to the previous year. In regard to Rabati Fortress, according to the information of the Rabati Fortress Information Centre, the number of tourists has reduced in comparison to the same periods of the previous years. The number of tourists dropped by 59% in the previous year and by 30% in January 2015. Even though that does not constitute a fourfold decline as claimed by the MP, it is still a significant decline in numbers.

Considering the context of the statement, FactCheck concludes that Zurab Chilingarashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

Persons

Similar News

5407 - Verified Facts
FactCheck Newspaper
26%
True
17%
Lie
11%
Mostly True
10%
Manipulation
9%

Most read