Tbilisi disrupting “holiday plans”12.09.2011 | 14:26
In recent years, Georgian economy has been lasting on fiery speeches of President Mikhail Saakashvili and foreign credits obtained through them. Tbilisi seeks for various ways to make Tbilisi less financially dependent. Local authorities reckon that tourism is to become one of the economic engines but the dreams shatter against grim reality: the raging inflation makes most services provided by local resorts unavailable for the majority of guests. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked leader of the oppositional Imedi party Irina Sarishvili why the government's "holiday plans" are disrupted.
oppositional Imedi party Irina Sarishvili why the government's "holiday plans" are disrupted.
Official Tbilisi has many times stated its desire to develop its own economy and give up the practice of constant external borrowings. However, investment paradise is too distant a prospect for St.George's country, as well the construction of high-tech enterprises that could become vehicles to prevent the inevitable fall of the state into a debt pit. As to agriculture, it is as unremarkable as a deceased man known for improper behavior when alive. In this context, Georgian authorities decided to focus on tourism. According to the idea of Mikhail Saakashvili and his supporters, the resorts of Batumi and Anaklia are able to turn the country into Switzerland and Singapore at once, though millions of foreign guests crowding local beaches are so far just a dream.
Traditional local hospitality is no remedy either, though it is still unaffected by political and economic problems. The point is that the prices at the Georgian resorts have reached European standards in recent years, which cannot be said about the service provided. Huge hotels that the ruling establishment is almost ready to depict as national emblem are not very popular both among Georgians and foreign guests: sometimes there are problems with water and electricity and the unavailability of basic amenities is able to divert the guests even from the fascinating landscapes of Adzharia, not to mention the cost of accommodation: 250 dollars per day is too big a price. This money is enough to spend a good time in much more comfortable hotels located in much safer countries. Thus, those attracted by the "expensive poverty" of local hotels are not numerous.
Leader of the oppositional Imedi party Irina Sarishvili is sure that foreign guests may visit Georgia only to see "what a strange president we've got". "European-level prices in no way match the level of comfort in local hotels, so foreign tourists may be coming here only for something exotic, for some extreme sensations", - she said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
In Sarishvili's opinion, the authorities deliberately mislead the people, juggling with fantastic data on the alleged visitors of local resorts. "Indeed, Adzharia is practically crowded with tourists from Armenia who are really numerous. But they do not prove the fact that tourism is being developed, for the citizens of the neighbouring states are accustomed to the proposed level of comfort, if we can use this word at all in respect of our hotels", - the Georgian oppositionist believes.
According to her, even tourists from Armenia prefer renting private apartments, for the prices in the externally luxurious Batumi hotels are a sequence higher. "Of course, Georgian resorts offer some really comfortable facilities but they must be built solely for the officials and various governmental delegations", - leader of the Imedi party added.
Unfortunately, the situation in the tourist branch fully reflects the current reality in Georgia. Crystal "palaces", which the hotels and some state institutions are supposed to be, are aimed to conceal most people's poverty. However, transparent glass is a bad disguise and the local government's sins are spread before the people's eyes. Besides, the fragility of such constructions will serve their constructors a bad turn, for the unreliable material may fail to bear the ferocious attacks of the citizens displeased with their situation.