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On air on GDS, during his meeting with journalists, Bidzina Ivanishvili talked about Ajara and said: “Investments in the region have increased two-and-a-half times and the tourism industry has grown by 80%. If about 200 hotels were opened during the eight years of the United National Movement’s rule, 170 hotels have been constructed and opened during the four-year rule of the Georgian dream, 6,000 new jobs have been created, 41 new factories have been constructed and five factories rehabilitated.”

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of this statement.

According to the Ministry of Finances and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, investments in the business sector in Ajara in 2012 were about USD 152 million whilst this increased to USD 365.8 million (a 141% growth) in 2015 which comprised an increase of 2.4 times as compared to 2012.

According to the information of the same Ministry, the amount of money invested in Ajara by the private sector in the first six months of 2012 was USD 63.9 million whilst the amount of investments in the same period of 2016 was USD 208.1 million (a 226% growth). According to these data, the amount of private investments in the first six months of 2016 had increased three times as compared to the same period of 2012.

According to the statistics published by the Department of Tourism and Resorts of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, a total of 358,883 tourists stayed in hotels in 2012 whilst this number increased to 443,667 in 2015 which marked an 80% increase. According to the information of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, there were a total of 270 hotels and hotel-like facilities registered in Ajara in 2012 whilst their number had increased to 328 by 2016 which means that 50 (and not 170) hotels were built in Ajara from 2012 to 2016.

The Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara as well as the Department of Tourism and Resorts of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara told FactCheck

that they did not possess information about the number of hotels built in Ajara from 2004 to 2012. We managed to obtain the Regional Development Strategy formulated by the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in 2011 which reflected the distribution of tourists throughout different housing facilities registered from 2006 to 2011. The document makes clear that the number of housing facilities increased from 66 to 278 from 2006 to 2011. According to the information of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, there were 278 housing facilities in Ajara in 2012 as well. In both cases, however, these data indicate that if the number of hotels and hotel-like entities increased from 66 to 278 in the period from 2006 to 2012 (in seven years), then about 212 or even more hotels would need to have been built in Ajara in the period from 2005 to 2012.

As for opening new factories, the Ministry of Finances and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara provided us with the data in their possession according to which a total of 21 factories were opened on land acquired directly or through conditional auctions (with the conditions set out in specific agreements) from 2011 to 2016. In the period from 2013 to 2016, a total of 14 factories in Ajara were funded and facilitated in terms of the Product of Georgia project whilst an additional 74 factories were facilitated through the Preferential Agro-Credit Programme. According to the same source, these government programmes included both the construction of new factories as well as the facilitation of those already existing; however, the Ministry of Finances and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara was unable to tell us how many new factories had been opened through the Preferential Agro-Credit Programme. According to the Ministry, it does not have any information about rehabilitated factories in the region.

FactCheck

attempted to determine the exact number of factories constructed and rehabilitated from 2013 to 2016 through the Georgian Entrepreneurship Development Agency (Enterprise Georgia). The Agency provided us with the data from 2014 to 2016 according to which only five new factories were opened with the help of the Agency and five more were re-equipped. In terms of the Product of Georgia project, on the other hand, 55 new factories started operating in Ajara. If we compare the information obtained from the aforementioned two structures, we get the following picture:

Structure New Factories Rehabilitated Factories
Ministry of Finances and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara 35 -
Georgian Entrepreneurship Development Agency 5+55 5

Despite the fact that the information received from Enterprise Georgia includes the factories constructed or rehabilitated in the period from 2014 to 2016, the exact distribution in both of the categories is clearer. If we choose to rely upon these data, a total of 60 new factories were opened in Ajara from 2014 to 2016 and five were rehabilitated.

We compared the information stated by Bidzina Ivanishvili about 6,000 new jobs in Ajara with the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia. The number of those employed in the private sector in Ajara was 44,691 in 2012 whilst according to the data of the second quarter of 2016 this number had increased to 55,888. The growth in four years has been 11,197. The overall number of those employed in Ajara in 2012 was 173.8 thousand whilst this number dropped to 170.4 thousand in 2015. In this case, the number of self-employed people decreased from 113.2 thousand to 101.1 thousand whilst the number of those hired increased from 60.4 thousand to 64 thousand.

Category 2012 2015
Employed 173,800 170,400
Self-Employed 113,200 101,100
Hired 60,400 64,000
Employed in the Business Sector 44,691 55,888

Conclusion Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement consists of six parts: 1. His comment about the increase in investments in Ajara by two-and-a-half times matches almost exactly with the official data which show that the amount of investments grew by 2.4 times; 2. If we compare the numbers of tourists staying in hotels in Ajara in 2012 and 2015, Mr Ivanishvili’s statement about an 80% growth in tourism checks out; 3. Instead of 170 hotels as stated by Mr Ivanishvili, the data of the Ministry of Finances and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara suggest that an additional 50 hotels were opened in Ajara in the period from 2012 to 2016; 4. A total of 212 new hotels were opened in the period from 2006 to 2012 (not 200 as stated by Mr Ivanishvili); 5. FactCheck

failed to obtain the exact number of new factories and those rehabilitated as no structure seemed to be able to provide this information. We only know the numbers of factories constructed (60) and rehabilitated (five) through government programmes from 2014 to 2016 which generally coincide with and even exceed the numbers stated by Mr Ivanishvili and 6. As for 6,000 new jobs, the number of those employed in the business sector increased by 11,197 in the period from 2013 to 2016; however, the overall number of employed people from all categories has decreased.

FactCheck concludes that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

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