Written by Tako Khelaia

The Financial
Jan 30 2012

The FINANCIAL -- The number of foreign visitors in Georgia increased
by 39% in 2011 compared to the previous year.

According to the Georgian National Tourism Agency 2,820,185 foreign
tourists visited Georgia in total last year. The overall flow of
tourists increased by 788,468 foreigners in 2011.

"The majority of foreign tourists that visited Georgia were from
Turkey. In 2011 738,136 Turkish tourists came to Georgia, a 38% growth
in comparison to 2010 when 535,593 people visited Georgia from Turkey.

The second biggest group of foreign tourists in Georgia belongs to
Azerbaijan. In 2010 497,969 visitors came to Georgia from Azerbaijan
and in 2011 - 714,427, a growth of 43% in accordance with last year,"
GNTA notes.

"In 2010 547,510 Armenians visited Georgia. In 2011 the number of
Armenian tourists in Georgia reached 699,391, showing 28% growth
in comparison with the year before. Among the list of the top ten
foreign countries' visitors to Georgia, Russia holds 4th place. In
2010 170,584 Russian tourists visited Georgia, compared to 278,501
tourists in 2011 showing 63% growth," GNTA notes.

"60,193 tourists visited Georgia from Iran in 2011, compared to 21,313
in 2010. The number of Iranian tourists in Georgia increased by 182%.

58,966 Ukrainian tourists came to Georgia in 2011 while in 2010
the number was 47,596. Last year the number of Ukrainian tourists
increased by 24%. The number of tourists from Israel was 19,447
in 2010. In 2011 the number increased to 25,438, a 31% growth in
comparison with the last year," GNTA says.

According to the Georgian National Tourism Agency 24,224 tourists from
the USA visited Georgia in 2011 while in 2010 their number was 20,081.

The number of tourists in Georgia from the USA increased by 21%
in 2011.

22,204 German tourists came to Georgia in 2011, while their number in
2010 reached 17,619. In 2011 the number of German tourists in Georgia
increased by 26%. The number of tourists from Kazakhstan was 8,411
in 2010 and in 2011 their number reached 18,565 - a 121% increase
in comparison with the previous year. 17,664 Greek tourists visited
Georgia in 2011 and in 2010 their number was 16,424. The increase of
the number of Greek students in 2011 reached 8%.

"Georgia was visited in 2011 by 12,613 tourists from Great Britain,
12,082 from Poland, 10,695 from France, 10,309 from Bulgaria, 6,883
from the Netherlands, 6,873 from Italy, 6,522 from China, 6,114 from
the Philippines and 5,344 from Belarus," says GNTA.

According to GNTA the number of foreign visitors from Georgia's
neighbour countries increased in 2011.

The number of travellers to Georgia significantly increased from such
high priority country markets as Iran with 182% growth, China - 139%,
Kazakhstan - 121% and Poland with a 70% increase.

The highest number of foreign travellers to Georgia were from CIS
countries with 63% growth, EU countries with 32% and Southern Asia
with 2% increase, There was record growth of tourists to Georgia
from the Southern Asia region with 138% increase, mostly determined
by the high number of Iranian travellers."

Georgia was visited by 1,787,728 tourists from CIS countries in 2011,
906,632 from Europe, 66,076 from Southern Asia and 28,856 from the
USA. August was the month most saturated with foreign visitors.

355,924 tourists came to Georgia in August, 332,194 in July, 252,319
in October and 282,472 in December 2011. June 2011 saw a vast increase
in percentage rate with 49% growth of visitors.

As GNTA says, the highest number of tourists visited Georgia in the
3rd quarter of 2011 with 960,307 tourists and 41% growth in comparison
to the previous year.

"The 2nd quarter of 2011 was also exceptional with 48% growth. 754,547
tourists visited the country in the 4th quarter, and in comparison
with the last year it totalled 29% growth," GNTA says.

"2,380,760 travellers visited Georgia by road transport, 42% more in
comparison with the year 2010. 335,989 travellers visited Georgia
by air transport and in accordance with the year 2010 the number
increased by 37%. 56,909 travellers visited Georgia by sea and 55,041
by railway," GNTA says.

As one of the most visited regions of Georgia Adjara was visited by
1,319,513 tourists in 2011. There was a 35% increase in the number of
tourists visiting Adjara in comparison with the previous year's index.

"From the total number of tourists in Adjara, 64% were Georgian and
36% foreign. Adjara had the biggest number of visitors in July with
353,576 and in August with 330,311 tourists. According to percent
growth, the February index was one of the most exceptional compared
to the previous year with a 144% increase of tourists," GNTA notes.