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Georgians have taken offence at a French travel guide2009-03-16 23:15
Tbilisi is outraged that the Petit Futé publication has added Georgia to the list of dangerous countries for tourists. In the opinion of officials from the Department of Tourism and Tourist Resorts, this can only be put down to Russian propaganda intrigues.
A list of 11 countries which are hostile towards tourists has been compiled in France, reported the agency Tourinfo. The Petit Futé travel guide advises tourists not to add trips to Afghanistan, Iraq or Somalia to any travel itinerary, as fighting is constantly going on there. Terrorist acts and kidnappings could ruin a holiday in Colombia. In Honduras, crime rates are traditionally high and incidents of attacks on tourists are widespread. Bolivia is unattractive because of its domestic political crisis. Libya itself has restricted the flow of tourists because if its conflict with Algeria. In Malaysia and Fiji, there is a high risk of contracting an infectious tropical disease. In North Korea the totalitarian regime prevents the development of tourism
And now Georgia has found itself alongside such notorious places on this list of dangerous countries. The reason for this was the August aggression in South Ossetia and the permanent expectation of another war with Russia.
However, Georgia's department of tourism and tourist resorts does not find these arguments compelling and even doubts the validity of the list. The deputy head of the department, Nato Partskhaladze, remarked in an interview with Radio Kommersant that if a Russian site has spread this information, the report should instead be regarded as propaganda.
It must be said that ever since the August events, Georgia is having to go to unbelievable lengths to restore its image. From 10th to 15th March, a delegation made up of six Georgian tour operators and agencies took part in the International Tourism Exhibition in Berlin. A stand 60 square metres in size was set aside for Georgia. Posters and brochures were trying to persuade Europeans of the attractiveness of the republic.
Foreign journalists have been promised press tours around Georgia in order to spread the news about the wonderful Caucasian country and hospitality of its inhabitants throughout the world. The government also has plans to create a tourist information centre in Tbilisi.