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Batumi’s bike count2011-06-21 22:46
Georgian authorities report on a real tourist boom in the country. For 5 months of 2011, if official statistics can be trusted, the Transcaucasian republic was visited by over 900 thousand foreigners - one and a half times more than the same period last year. 3,000,000 is the total number of tourists expected this year. Yet, despite these fantastic figures, owners of private hotels hardly manage to make two ends meet terrified by new rules of tax calculation. This mismatch can be cleared up with indirect methods: administration of Batumi, where as the authorities assure one million tourists come annually, has bought 150 bikes for tourists.
assure one million tourists come annually, has bought 150 bikes for tourists.
The Georgian agency for tourism and health resorts expects two million tourists, 1/3 more than last year. This year, as the authorities estimate, the country will see 3 million foreigners - one and a half times more. Basing on official estimations, the tourist growth rate is enviable. A real boom! Yet, owners of private hotels don't feel joy. They are terrified by new rules of tax calculation adopted by the parliament in first reading. As expected, tax for individuals will be calculated on the basis of the hotel area, GEL 10 per 1 square meter, not the number of guests.
It would seem senseless for the authorities to do that if foreigners are coming in crowds to Georgia. Isn't it because this desire is only reported in paper? And it is much more certain to patch up the budget with a tax on real hotel area than imaginary guests? That is why hotel owners are so sad: many of them are pressurized by business loans. They have only one way out - to raise prices and accordingly push off those tourists who were brave enough to come to Georgia despite all risks attracted by relatively low prices of local hotels.
In view of the government's total information control, the real data on the number of foreign tourists to the country are quite difficult to get. However, indirect signs can give an approximate picture on the real state of things. The administration of Batumi, the country's major holiday destination visited by 1 mln tourists annually, plans to lease bikes to city residents and tourists for rides along well-known quays of the capital of Ajaria. As head of the tourism department of Ajaria Vazha Diasamidze stated, the authorities of the republic have ordered 150 "iron horses" from France.