The Georgian National Tourism Administration presented its annual report on tourism in Georgia. 7.3% of the country’s GDP was produced by the tourism sector in 2016, whereas in 2015 this indicator was 6.6%.
Throughout 2016, more than 6.35 million foreigners visited Georgia. This is a 7.6% increase in visitors in comparison with 2015. Neighboring countries are on the top of the list of visitors’ countries of origin. The number of visitors from Iran increased dramatically by 485%, due to the abolishment of visa regulations. The number of Israeli visitors also grew significantly - by 55%.
According to the National Bank of Georgia, in the first three quarters of 2016, tourists spent 1.68 billion US dollars, which is 11% more than the previous year.
The following are the top 10 countries from which Georgia had the most visitors in 2016:
- Azerbaijan - 1.52 million visitors
- Armenia - 1.49 million visitors
- Turkey - 1.25 million visitors
- Russia - 1.03 million visitors
- Ukraine - 172 thousand visitors
- Iran - 147 thousand visitors
- Israel - 92 thousand visitors
- Kazakhstan - 48 thousand visitors
- Poland - 44 thousand visitors
- Germany - 40 thousand visitors
The number of visitors that remained in the country for more than 24 hours in 2016 has grown by 19%. Only visitors who stay in the country for more than 24 hours and use the consumer market (restaurants, hotels, etc.) are counted as tourists. Out of 6.3 million visitors, 2.7 million foreign citizens remained in Georgia for more than 24 hours.
According to the National Tourism Administration report, there are 1.7 thousand hotels registered in Georgia by 2016. Tbilisi leads with 14,837 available bed places, followed by the Adjara region with 11,615 beds places.
In 2016, around 3.1 thousand bed places were added countrywide, with recently opened hotels including the Biltmore Tbilisi, Crowne Plaza, Gino Wellness, and others.
Number of Bed Places by Region in Georgia:
- Tbilisi - 14,387 bed places
- Adjara - 11,615 bed places
- Samtskhe-Javakheti - 8,145 bed places
- Imereti - 5,078 bed places
- Mtskheta-Mtianeti - 4,799 bed places
- Guria - 4,405 bed places
- Kakheti - 3,101 bed places
- Samegrelo & Zemo Svaneti - 3,042 bed places
- Racha-Lechkhumi & Kvemo Svaneti - 1,272 bed places
- Kvemo Kartli - 555 bed places
- Shida Kartli - 200 bed places
Despite the growth in tourism in 2016 in comparison to recent years, tourism has yet to regain the levels experienced from 2007-2013. The highest growth indicator in tourism was in 2012, which was 56% year-on-year.
In 2013, the growth indicator was 21%, and in 2014 - 2.3%, due to the introduction of stricter visa regulations. The growth indicator slightly recovered in 2015, reaching 7%.