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The number of international travelers increased by 538.3% in August 2021, compared to the same period of 2020, and declined by 77.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors increased by 510.5% (2021/2020) and declined by 75.5% (2021/2019), and the number of international tourists increased by 615.2% (2021/2020) and declined by 67.2% (2021/2019); Tourists coming to Georgia have customarily originated from a small concentrated selection of countries. Specifically, in 2019, 71.4% of all international visitors to Georgia came from its four neighboring countries. However, in August 2021, the corresponding proportion amounted to just 40.8%, mostly due to an increase in the number of visits from Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan; Targeting tourism markets with potential for expansion could be a fruitful approach in Georgia’s economic recovery as the pandemic eventually subsides. In particular, China, with an average growth rate in its number of visitors to Georgia of 54% over 2015-2019, and Kazakhstan, with a corresponding indicator at 36%, stand out as promising markets.
After a challenging 2020 and early 2021 for the tourism sector, various positive developments, such as the alleviation of restrictions, were seen in the tourism sector in Georgia in the second quarter of 2021. As of July 2021, there are no restrictions of movement in place within Georgia, and both land and air borders are open for eligible visitors. Below is a timeline of the relaxing of various COVID-19 measures in the second quarter of 2021: Since May 17, the curfew was moved from 21:00 to 23:00. Since May 22, restaurants have been allowed to operate on weekends in open spaces. Since June 1, restaurants have been allowed to operate on weekends in both open and closed spaces. Since June 1, land borders have been reopened. On June 14, tourism information centers around the country re-opened. On June 16, mandatory PCR testing for visitors aged less than 10 was eliminated. Since July 1, the curfew (23:00 – 04:00) was removed.
The number of international travelers increased by 294.2% in June 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, and declined by 82.1% compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors increased by 286.8% (2021/2020) and declined by 79.8% (2021/2019), and the number of international tourists increased by 361.6% (2021/2020) and declined by 71.7% (2021/2019); In June 2021, the number of visitors from Israel, Ukraine and Kazakhstan recovered to approximately 75% of their June 2019 levels; During the period of 2018-2021, average hotel prices in Georgia peaked in 2018, gradually falling in 2019 before plummeting in 2020; Prices of 5-star hotels experienced the highest volatility, while the prices of guesthouses were most stable; In June 2021, the Hotel Price Index increased by 1.5% compared to the corresponding month of 2019, mainly driven by positive expectations about tourism’s recovery, as well as the low base effect due to the shock (Russian flight ban) in June 2019.
The number of international travelers increased by 141.6% in April 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, and declined by 86.8% compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors increased by 140.4% (2021/2020) and declined by 85.0% (2021/2019), and the number of international tourists increased by 182.2% (2021/2020) and declined by 78.2% (2021/2019); The number of visitors to Georgia from Israel in April 2021 recovered to 70% of its April 2019 level, with its share in total visitors amounting to 12.2%; Georgia’s four neighboring countries accounted for 71% of total visitors in 2019. None of these countries had vaccinated more than 20% of their population as of May 23, 2021; Some countries that stand out for their high vaccination rates among Georgia's key source markets include Israel (63% of the population), United Arab Emirates (61%), the United Kingdom (56%), Hungary (52%), the United States (49%), and Finland (41%). Most EU countries have a rate of around 30-40%; In April 2021, the Hotel Price Index decreased by 2.3% compared to the corresponding month of 2019, mainly driven by a price decline of 27.4% in Adjara.
The number of international travelers increased by 141.6% in April 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, and declined by 86.8% compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors increased by 140.4% (2021/2020) and declined by 85.0% (2021/2019), and the number of international tourists increased by 182.2% (2021/2020) and declined by 78.2% (2021/2019); Visitors from the United States and Israel stand out as high-spenders and long-stayers in Georgia, while visitors from Turkey, the Gulf States, Iran, and Armenia have been categorized as high-spenders but short-stayers. Visitors from Russia and Azerbaijan fall into the low-spend, short-stay category; Israel and the Gulf States accounted for the highest estimated revenue loss in 2020 due to the COVID-19, apart from immediate neighbors. Now, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have one of the highest percentage of vaccinated population, so visitors from the two countries could be worth targeting; For 2021, it is recommended to channel marketing campaigns toward high-spenders and short-stayers, along with high-spenders and long-stayers; Due to the abnormal impact of the pandemic on 2020 prices, we use 2019 as the comparison year for the Hotel Price Index for the rest of 2021.
The number of international travelers declined by 75.3% in March compared to the same period of 2020, and by 90.7% compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors fell by 73.4% (2021/2020) and by 89.0% (2021/2019), and the number of international tourists fell by 64.4% (2021/2020) and by 84.4% (2021/2019); Saudi Arabia, the United States, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United Kingdom rank as the top five countries of origin when it comes to highest average expenditure per visit; Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Armenia rank as the top five countries of origin when it comes to average expenditure per day; Targeting visitors from Turkey, via both air and land routes, could be an effective marketing strategy, at least in the short term; Due to the abnormal impact of the pandemic on 2020 prices, we use 2019 as the comparison year for the Hotel Price Index for the rest of 2021.
The number of international travelers declined by 91% in February compared to the same period of both, 2020 and 2019, while the number of international visitors fell by 90% and the number of international tourists fell by 86%; From March 2020 to February 19, 2021, 220 different hotels, and 11 744 hotel rooms, were utilized under the quarantine zones program. A total of 148 904 people stayed in these quarantine hotels over the covered period, and 3 644 people maintained their jobs in these hotels due to the program; From March 2020 up to and including January 2021, a total of GEL 66.6 mln was spent under the program, averaging GEL 6.1 mln per month. On average, 94 hotels and 6340 hotel rooms were utilized per month, and 32 GEL was spent per hotel room per day.
The number of international travelers declined by 94.5% in January compared to the same period of 2020, while the number of international visitors fell by 93.6% and the number of international tourists fell by 91.9%; In January 2021, the year over year Hotel Price Index decreased by 33.8% in Adjara and by 28.5% in Samtskhe-Javakheti; The number of ski-lift users in Georgia grew significantly, by an annual average rate of 21%, from the 2014-2015 season up to and including the 2018-2019 season. However, compared to the 2018-19 season, the number of ski-lift users dropped by 20% during the 2019-2020 season, due to the looming COVID-19 pandemic which effectively brought the season to an early finish. Thereafter, the 2020-2021 season has been cancelled outright due to the ongoing epidemiological crisis; Sales per skiing day demonstrated significant growth from the 2014-2015 winter season up to and including the 2018-2019 winter season, growing by 33% annually on average in this period. It even registered modest growth (4%) in the 2019-2020 season.
Tourism across the world in 2020 was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, the industry has been all but sidelined by various lockdowns including severe restrictions to international travel. To counter these difficulties, businesses in tourism-related industries were provided different support measures throughout 2020, and many of these have been extended into 2021; The number of international travelers declined by 92.4% in December compared to the same period of 2019, while the number of international visitors fell by 90.8% and the number of international tourists fell by 86.3%; The price changes in Adjara and Guria are the most representative of tourism’s decline. In December 2020, the year over year Hotel Price Index decreased by 41% in Guria, by 39% in Adjara and by 31.3% in Samtskhe-Javakheti.
The number of international travelers declined by 93.1% in November compared to the same period of 2019, while the number of international visitors fell by 91.6% and the number of international tourists fell by 88.3%; The price changes in Adjara and Guria are the most representative of tourism’s decline. In November 2020, the year over year Hotel Price Index decreased by 45.8% in Guria and by 28.5% in Adjara. Hotel prices in other regions do not provide an accurate guidance of the situation in accommodation market due to the COVID-19 pandemic; The number of visits by domestic visitors in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 of 2020) has declined by 5.6%, compared to the same period of 2019; The number of visits with the purpose of visiting friends or relatives has declined the most in Q3 of 2020, compared to the corresponding figure in 2019, having declined by 19.8%. Whereas, the number of visits with the purpose of visiting another house (cottage, etc.) has increased by 45.4% in Q3 of 2020, compared to Q3 of 2019. Perhaps, the main reason for these changes in the structure of the visit purpose is existing fears of traveling caused by the ongoing pandemic.