Georgia Loses $60Mln In Tourism Revenue Following Russian Ban On Flights - Prime Minister
TBILISI (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th August, 2019) The Georgian tourism sector suffered up to $60 million in losses in July following Russia's ban on direct flight to and from its neighbor to the south, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said on Monday, while also promising that the flow of tourism would be restored.
According to the National Tourism Administration, 1.4 million tourists from Russia visited Georgia in 2018. This summer, however, dynamics of Russian tourism changed after Moscow ordered the suspension of direct flights amid protests in Tbilisi in early July.
"Steps made by us give me all the grounds to state that we will regain the past and most growing trend in the tourism sector by all means," Bakhtadze said, as quoted by the government press service, adding that $60 million was lost in July alone.
The head of the Georgian government emphasized the importance of supporting small- and medium-sized tourism businesses in restoring the previous positive trend, noting that such a trend had already been observed in the Adjara region in June, when tourism saw a 40 percent increase year-on-year.
Protests in the Georgian capital erupted on June 20 and were initially a response to the participation of a Russian delegation in an international parliamentary event in Tbilisi. However, they soon evolved into opposition rallies.
Moscow has said it is outraged by the actions of the protesters, fanned by the Georgian government's targeted Russophobic narrative. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that the political situation will soon stabilize so that Russia can resume flights to Georgia.