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Reopening tourism: Georgia to accept Filipino, foreign tourists by July

Georgia has always been one of the top favorite travel destinations among Filipinos in the UAE. This rustic country, for one, is just a few hours away, making it a preferred long weekend getaway for many expats. Aside from that, it is rich in history and is relatively cheaper compared to other travel destinations. Budget-conscious Filipinos have this country as a paradise to go back to again and again.
However, with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Georgia had closed its borders as a precautionary measure—suspending tourism and implementing travel bans to ensure the safety of its residents.
After weeks of stern measures and the provision of services to citizens in quarantine zones, Georgia has confirmed that it has been successful in combating the disease. As a result, the country is planning to reopen itself to international tourists, including Filipinos.
According to Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, the country will reopen domestic tourism on June 15 and will receive international tourists on July 1.
“The Georgian government has a plan and this plan will be implemented. From June 15, Georgia will open to provide local tourism services, and from July 1, the country will be ready to receive foreign tourists. We will do this by creating a safe corridor on land borders with our neighboring countries, as well as by bilateral negotiations with the countries that are interesting to us in terms of tourism. These negotiations have already begun. Georgia will be one of the first countries to open its borders and tourist infrastructure to receive guests from abroad,” PM Gakharia said.

In addition, during the video conference between PM Gakharia and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, it was discussed that a ministerial under the aegis of the UNWTO on Future Prospects of the Tourism Industry will be hosted in Georgia in September 2020, bringing together ministers of tourism from several dozens of countries.
The UNWTO secretary-general welcomed the Tourism Revival and Anti-Crisis Plan presented by the Government of Georgia, noting that the country has been very prudent in its goal to become the first country in the world to re-open its tourism industry ahead of everyone else.
The meeting highlighted the country’s success in fighting the disease as well as providing services to citizens in quarantine zones—noting that these are some of the competitive advantages that will enable Georgia to reach its goal of reopening tourism.
The UNWTO secretary-general also gave a positive assessment to the Georgian Government’s decision on designating various resorts as Green Zones for Tourism. Attention was also drawn to the concept of safe corridors, which are being negotiated both with neighboring countries, as well as other states that are of interest to Georgia in terms of tourism. The prime minister particularly emphasized the importance of support from the UNWTO in this process.
Giorgi Gakharia noted that the tourism industry, in addition to being one of the most important driving forces of the Georgian economy, is also the competitive advantage that can facilitate further the economic development of the country after the pandemic.
According to the UNWTO secretary-general, given the current situation, Georgia has a very good position and location, and given the tourist infrastructure that was created in recent years, it can become a competitive tourist destination, while the World Tourism Organization guaranteed that it will do its best to support the country in terms of coordinating with its target markets.
Others who took part in the video conference included Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Natia Turnava, Head of National Tourism Administration Mariam Kvrivishvili, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of Georgia to the Kingdom of Spain Ilia Giorgadze, and Prime Minister’s Advisor on Economic Issues Beka Liluashvili.

Staff Report

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