The number of international arrivals in Georgia rose by 10.2% y/y to 2.18mn in the third quarter, latest data from the country’s statistical office shows.
Tourists are increasingly visiting far flung destinations in Eastern Europe and Eurasia that are not part of the usual tourist trail, and Georgia is a big beneficiary of that trend. Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that in terms of spending by tourists, the largest increases between 2010 and 2017 were seen in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan—all of which experienced an increase of 300% or more in the seven year period.
Tourism is a key element in addressing Georgia's wide current account deficit as its generated revenues help offset the high net import figure for goods.
With the inclusion of Georgian citizens with foreign residence, the number of visits paid by international travellers to the country in the third quarter was 3.2mn.
Inbound visitors spent GEL3.12bn ($1.16bn), with the largest shares of their budgets dedicated to food and drinks (30.1% of the total) and accommodation (25.8%). For comparison, Georgia's trade in goods resulted in a $1.43bn deficit in Q3.
Some 50.2% of the recorded visits of international visitors were made for the purposes of a holiday, leisure or recreation. Transit visits accounted for 16.7% of the total while 15.7% of the visits were made for meeting relatives or friends.
Business tourism generated 7.7% of the visits, while 4.5% of the visits were ascribed to shopping.
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