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Saturday, 22 October 2016


Kobalia to give Azerbaijani the shaft

2011-04-27 21:22

Kobalia to give Azerbaijani the shaft. 16382.jpegGeorgia starts an active campaign on calling tourists to its pastures of Heaven. In the opinion of Minister of Finance Kakha Baindurashvili, it is the sector that snatched the country from the ravenous paws of the


economic crisis. It does not matter that the information was never confirmed by a single travel agency, for the Tourism Department is zealously creating commercials to be published on the neighbouring countries' websites. In the Cabinet's dreams, the high-mountain Svanetia will compete with the Swiss ski resorts. Responsibility for the realization of these ambitious plans is now placed on Azerbaijan.

Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economy are trumpeting the amenities of the tourist sector. Necessary conditions have been created for investors so that the Georgian resorts could start flourishing immediately. But things are going on badly. In advance of the tourist season, the tourist department of Adzharia was dismissed. Despite the assurances of the Georgian government that the development of the sector was impeded by the officers' lack of skill, it's hard to believe these statements. Right before the dismissal, negotiations had been held with a number of local businessmen on the creation of a special card for tourists, a so-called Batumi Card, enabling the guests to get significant discounts in various entertainment spots.

Anyway, the situation in Adzharia does not embarrass the government of the republic. Few guests will visit Georgia in order to see with their own eyes the low quality of the taxi service, the trainmen's incorrectness and make sure that the close neighbor is not the cheapest way to spend one's time. According to four tour agencies, 77 percent of visitors believe the prices in the autonomy to be unreasonably high.

Responsibility for Georgia's economic success is placed on the high-mountain Svanetia. It is expected to become a serious competitor to Swiss resorts due to the year-round operation and the provision of steady revenue to the state budget. Perfectly masked traps have been set up for the investors who will ensure the development of the regional tourist infrastructure. According to the amendments to the tax law, those who invest over one million laris in the sector will be exempt from tax burden for fifteen years. Another argument used by Mikhail Saakashvili, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economy in their dispute with the skeptics is the comparison with Turkey that also had to face big problems when realizing its tourist branch development projects.

However, experts are not apt to share the government's delight. They believe that even the active development of tourism won't be a remedy for the republic's economy. One cannot achieve the indicators stipulated by the country's government within three years, not to mention the fact that the Georgian climate does not meet the Swiss standards that the republic is trying to reach. They are possible to approach only in the long-term prospect, while the Georgian authorities want to secure profit immediately.

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