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Resume: Speaking of statistics of international visitors, Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development puts emphasis on two indicators – number of visits accomplished by the international visitors and number of tourist visits. However, the figure given by Mr Kobulia, that is 8.7 million, is a number of international travellers, instead of international visitors. The number of international visitors in 2018 was nearly 7.2 million. In addition, the number of tourists is not 5 million and the real number is 4.7 million. Therefore, the statement is not completely accurate, although its context largely fits in the real picture.

For information, an international traveller is a non-resident individual of any age who travels to different geographic areas for any duration and aim. This category incorporates tourists, as well as individuals who used Georgia as a transit country and migrants (who stay in a country for more than six months not for tourism, but for the purposes of education, employment, family reunion etc), whilst international visitors are Georgia’s non-resident travellers of age 15 or older, who accomplished visit from their area of residence to Georgia. A tourist is a visitor who spent at least one night in a country’s territory.

In regard to trend of increased number of visitors, as compared to 2017, the number of international travellers’ visits increased by 9.8% in 2018 and reached 8.7 million. At the same time, the number of visits of international visitors has increased by 11.1%, whilst the number of tourist visits has increased by 16%.

Revenues generated from tourism are also rising. Currently available data includes the first three quarters of 2018 only. In this period, international tourism generated USD 2.6 billion, which is nearly 20% more as compared to the figure (USD 2.1 billion) of the same period of 2017.

Analysis

The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Kobulia, during the discussion of 2018 tourism sector data, stated: “We have significant growth not only in terms of visitors, but in terms of tourists as well. Of 8.7 million international visitors who entered Georgia in 2018, there were 5 million tourists, which is a very high figure. It is also important for us, that similar to the number of tourists and visitors, tourism revenues also increase.”

Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistics on international travellers. The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development makes emphasis on two indicators - number of visits accomplished by the international visitors and number of tourist visits. However, the figure given by Mr Kobulia, that is 8.7 million, is a number of international travellers, instead of international visitors.

An international traveller is a non-resident individual of any age who travels to different geographic areas for any duration and aim. This category incorporates tourists, as well as individuals who used Georgia as a transit country and migrants (who stay in a country for more than six months not for tourism, but for the purposes of education, employment, family reunion etc). International visitors are Georgia’s non-resident travellers of age 15 or older, who accomplished visit from their area of residence to Georgia, whilst a tourist is a visitor who spent at least one night in Georgia’s territory. Of note is that using the aforementioned categories as synonyms is a widespread mistake. For instance, see FactCheck’s research

Table 1:Statistics of International Travel to Georgia

Type of Visit

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Visits of International Travellers

5 734 898

5 888 709

6 305 635

6 719 975

7 902 509

8 679 544

Visits of International Visitors

4 954 448

5 004 331

5 255 999

5 392 816

6 482 830

7 203 350

Tourist Visit

2 884 295

2 938 892

3 011 663

3 297 275

4 069 354

4 756 820

One Day Visit

2 070 153

2 065 439

2 244 336

2 095 541

2 413 476

2 446 530

Other (non-tourist)

780 450

884 378

1 049 636

1 327 159

1 419 679

1 476 194

Source: Georgian National Tourism Administration

As compared to 2017, the number of international travellers’ visits increased by 9.8% in 2018, whilst the number of visits of international visitors and tourist visits increased by 11.1% and 16% respectively.

Revenues generated from tourism are rising as well. These figures are published by the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

Table 2:Tourism Revenues (USD Thousand)

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

In Total

1 719 700

1 787 140

1 868 79

2 110 709

2 704 340

2 571 260

I Quarter

302 818

315 461

305 180

342 590

425 673

550 730

II Quarter

426 525

429 690

409 470

497 441

629 854

809 969

III Quarter

604 202

649 775

742 849

813 161

1 078 274

1 210 561

IV Quarter

386 156

392 215

410 979

457 517

570 538

-

Source:Georgian National Tourism Administration

Currently published data includes the first three quarters of 2018 only. In this period, international tourism generated nearly USD 2.6 billion revenues, which is 20% more as compared to the figure (USD 2.1 billion) of the same period of 2017.