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SAFE TRAVELS: Georgia to launch ‘tourist zones’ free from COVID-19

Georgia has announced that it is planning to introduce to international visitors designated zones that are free from coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Georgia’s National Administration of Tourism Head Mariam Kvrivishvili , “The Green Zones” project is an initiative that seeks to launch areas and spots for tourists that are completely safe from the virus.
She added that green zones are already available in the majority of the hotels in the country. In the near future, the tourism head said the authorities will build the green zones on mountain and sea resorts.
She added that for this phase, resorts will receive only domestic tourists during the first stage, then foreigners in the next.
“Safety will be the main condition for us. Georgia is one of the first countries in the world to announce that it will reopen its tourism industry in the context of the current pandemic crisis. It is important that all hotels, food catering facilities, guides, and travel agencies unfailingly comply to the established international criteria for safety,” she said.
On May 7, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia announced that the country will reopen domestic tourism on June 15 and will receive international tourists on July 1. This decision came Georgia has confirmed that it has been successful in combating the disease.
He also announced a gradual lifting of restrictions on other economic activities and freedom of movement.
“We will create safe corridors on land borders with our neighboring countries and – based on bilateral negotiations – with countries that are of touristic interest to us. Talks have already begun. Georgia will be one of the first countries to open its borders and tourist infrastructure to receive guests from abroad,” the Georgian PM said.
He also promised to free businesses in the tourism sector from paying property taxes in 2020, and to subsidize payments on loans of up to EUR1.3 million (Dhs5.3 million) by 80% for hotels with a turnover of EUR5.7 million (Dhs23.3 million) or less.
Recently, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) lauded the country’s successful fight against the virus, with UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili noting that the country made very prudent and successful steps, including its plan to become the first country in the world to reopen its tourism industry ahead of everyone else.

In addition, during the video conference between PM Gakharia and 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.
Best known for its sprawling landscapes, rich culture, hearty food, and hospitable locals, Georgia is situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia, making it an ideal location to visit for travelers from both continents. In 2019, Georgia welcomed a record high of 9.3 million visitors. The country has set a goal of attracting 11 million tourists by 2025.
READ ALSO: Reopening tourism: Georgia to accept Filipino, foreign tourists by July

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