How to get to Georgia now? Yes you can too

How to get to Georgia now? Yes you can too

Georgia has resumed international flights, but entry into the country for Russians is limited. What kind of travelers can visit Georgia, and how to get to Tbilisi in the absence of direct flights, experts of the tourism market told.

GEORGIA WILL ONLY LET RUSSIANS FULLY VACCINATED FROM CORONAVIRUS

Since February 1, 2021, Georgia has restarted international flights. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, all foreigners who have completed a full course of vaccination (two injections) against COVID-19 will be able to enter the country. About what kind of vaccine the traveler should be vaccinated, and what requirements are imposed on the vaccination document (certificate/certificate, in what language, etc.), nothing is said.

Without vaccination against coronavirus, only citizens and residents of the EU countries, Israel, Switzerland, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain can enter Georgia, including for transit. They need to submit a negative PCR test for COVID-19, made no earlier than 72 hours before departure. On the third day of their stay in Georgia, they will be required to undergo repeated PCR testing for coronavirus at their own expense.

The land border of Georgia remains closed, it will not be possible to enter by car. In addition, intercity traffic has been suspended in the country until March 1.

Thus, Russian citizens will now be able to enter Georgia only by air and being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only in this case, they will not have to provide a PCR test for coronavirus and undergo a mandatory 8-day quarantine.

HOW CAN YOU FLY TO TBILISI

From mid-2019 to March 2020, Russians traveled to Georgia on their own, using flights through Minsk, Yerevan, Riga and other airports.

According to ticket aggregators, in February you can fly from Moscow to Tbilisi via Istanbul (a round trip ticket will cost from 25 thousand rubles for one), through Minsk (from 42 thousand rubles in both directions ). In addition, flights to the Georgian capital appeared in the flydubai's schedule (from 28 thousand for one).

WILL GEORGIA BE INTERESTED WITH GRAPHED RUSSIANS

According to the interlocutors of Vestnik ATOR, Georgia as a tourist destination is now unlikely to interest Russian travelers.

On what conditions can Russians visit Georgia

Georgia from February 1 will open for vaccinated tourists from any country. But there is another way to get into the country. We will tell you in the article how to enter Georgia now.

During the pandemic, I am going to go to Georgia for the second time. The first time I went to Tbilisi at the end of September, I enjoyed khinkali, wine and a warm climate (until December) and returned to Russia for the New Year. Now I will go in March. Yes, you may have heard that Georgia resumes regular flights from February 1, but this does not mean that the country has begun to let all tourists in.

UPD! From February 1, tourists from any country who have been fully vaccinated (with any vaccine!) Can freely fly to Georgia (entry permit applies only to air travel). If you have a certificate of vaccination, you do not need a PCR test or quarantine.

Those Russians who do not want to be vaccinated cannot simply fly to Georgia: they need to obtain an entry permit from the Georgian government itself. There are two options:

  • The first is a business visit. This means that a Georgian company should invite you to work or for negotiations, some kind of meetings. To do this, you need to fill out a special application and wait for approval. I am subscribed to many channels and chats and I know that people have been waiting for these permits for months. Therefore, the scheme, to put it mildly, does not work very well. When entering Georgia, business visitors must undergo mandatory quarantine for 8 days.
  • The second option is to come under the Work from Georgia program. It assumes that you are a freelancer, telecommuter, or business owner and can live and work anywhere in the world. So, Georgia invites you to her place! Russians can stay in the country without a visa for 365 days. To obtain an entry permit, you need to fill out a special application and, upon arrival, go through an 8-day quarantine at the hotel at your own expense.

It was according to the freelance program that I entered Georgia: it's not as difficult as it might seem. Of course, a two-week vacation is hardly worth flying, but if you want to live for several months in another country, then perhaps now this is the ideal option.

The application can be found at the link - it is somewhat similar to the application for obtaining a Schengen visa. You must indicate your passport details, provide financial confirmation and medical insurance, and also agree to the condition that you bear all the costs of quarantine, tests and treatment (if necessary).

What documents are needed?

  • International passport.
  • The main condition of this program is income from 2 thousand dollars a month for the last year (or 24 thousand dollars a year if the income is distributed unevenly over the months). We accept contracts, a certificate of employment, an employment contract, a bank statement and even, for example, an apartment lease agreement - in general, any documents that can confirm your income. Take this point very seriously. If you do not have enough money, then there is a high probability of being rejected.
  • Medical insurance covering coronavirus treatment and valid for at least 6 months from the date of your entry. In fact, they accept any insurance, even the cheapest, where the period of validity is six months, but at the same time there are only 15 insured days for the period. It costs about 1 thousand rubles.

What else is important?

First-hand news

From February 1, Georgia will start accepting foreign tourists, including Russians. Only those who have a passport of the vaccinated against COVID-19 or other similar documents will be able to enter the country without any additional procedures. Tourists who have not had time to get vaccinated must have a certificate of the absence of coronavirus with them, and on the third day after arrival, they must be tested again. Meanwhile, direct flights between Russia and Georgia were suspended long before the start of the pandemic - this happened in the summer of 2019.

However, this will not stop tourists now, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia Maya Lomidze is sure: “There were opportunities to get by road with transfers in Yerevan or Baku, which was what many Russian citizens did. This year, the possibilities are even more limited, the prospects for opening direct flights are questionable, but nevertheless, it is possible to reach through Istanbul.

As for Yerevan, theoretically, it is not clear yet how the docking will take place. Maybe through some other countries with which we have direct air communication and where the purpose of the arrival of Russian citizens is not limited, and there are not many such countries at the moment. Therefore, connecting flights via Istanbul remain the main option by elimination. The potential demand for Georgia is estimated by both tour operators and market experts as quite high. In the current situation, the opening of any direction immediately immediately becomes the subject of interest of our citizens, so we assume that some kind of tourist flow will still go. "

Tour operators, meanwhile, are in no hurry to offer their clients travel options to Georgia. Some major market players declined to comment on the news of the opening of the borders. They explained their position by the fact that direct flights had been interrupted. Tourists, however, also did not have time to love this destination enough to get there with transfers, says Natalia Osipova, executive director of the Alliance of Travel Agencies Association:

“After the flight was interrupted, Tbilisi lost a lot both materially and morally. They were very much looking forward to our tourists, because before interrupting flights, Georgia was gaining popularity among tourists, and I don't think there will be a massive flow. Most likely, these will be humanitarian, business or family trips. Tourists are unlikely to fly with transfers. how is it necessary to love this direction, especially during these months? Now the Emirates, Turkey are open, this year Zanzibar has become very popular with us. In addition, our tourists go to Cuba. "

Why Beach Holidays Can Become a Market Driver

The suspension of direct flights between Russia and Georgia was initiated by Moscow. The reason was the protests of many thousands that took place in Tbilisi after State Duma deputy Sergei Gavrilov, while in the Georgian parliament, mistakenly sat down in the chair of the speaker. Oppositional citizens of the country considered this act an insult and took to the streets. The actions were accompanied by riots, and the police had to use rubber bullets and tear gas. As a result, more than 200 people were injured. Moscow explained the decision to suspend flights by the need to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Georgia.

Despite the ardent desire of the Georgian government to save and revive the most important for the country's economy and successful in recent years, the tourism sector, as it will not be soon, experts say

The day before, on Thursday, the authorities solemnly announced that from June 15, domestic tourism will open in the country, and from July 1, the doors will open for foreign guests. And also presented the long-awaited financial assistance plan for companies related to tourism. We are talking about the allocation of 200 million lari. And although the amount, by Georgian standards, is impressive, the forecasts of specialists are not very encouraging.

Only without illusions

"We should not have the illusion that we will open the borders and the country will be filled with tourists. The only month that will be more or less busy is September, hotels can be loaded by a maximum of 40 - 45%, this will be the maximum what we will achieve this year. The rest of the months, the workload will be 20-25%, "- said the founder of the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants of Georgia Shalva Alaverdashvili at a press conference.

In 2019, for the first time in the history of Georgia, the number of international visitors exceeded 9.3 million. According to the Georgian National Tourism Administration, last year income from international travelers in Georgia amounted to $ 3.3 billion, up 1.4% compared to 2018.

Now you can forget about such figures for at least two years.

"I want to say bluntly that the business will have no income until June 2021. The business will not make a profit, but will only work for its survival ... In 2020, there will be 75% fewer tourists compared to 2019 , in 2021 - 35% less, and only in 2022 we will return to the indicators of 2019, "said the founder of the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants.

There will be no influx of tourists

Alaverdashvili believes that it makes no sense to expect guests from Europe. Every day, the leaders of European countries urge their citizens in 2020 not to travel or travel only in the countries of the European Union. According to him, one should not rely too much on the neighbors.

"Our neighbors do not yet have a formed strategy and improve the epidemiological situation. Therefore, even with the opening of our borders, we do not expect a large number of tourists. Of course, I do not consider Russia at all at this stage. Tourists from Russia can to come, but we really do not know what the situation will be in Russia, so we do not even hope to receive tourists from there, "Alaverdashvili said.

A robust political structure supports Georgia's relative resilience to shocks, an international agency said

TBILISI, 14 Feb - Sputnik. The international rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed Georgia's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) at BB, with a negative outlook, the agency said in a press release.

The agency notes that a coherent and reliable political structure supports Georgia's relative resilience to shocks.

"These lending opportunities are balanced by a high share of government debt denominated in foreign currency, low external liquidity and higher external financing requirements compared to other countries with a similar rating," the document says.

The negative outlook, according to Fitch analysts, reflects the significant continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Georgian economy.

"The pandemic is causing a sharp contraction in Georgia's small open economy with a large tourism sector, a marked deterioration in fiscal accounts, including rising public debt, and increased vulnerability stemming from Georgia's higher external debt and wider structural current account deficit in compared with the average value of peers in the "BB" category, - emphasized in the press release of the Agency.

Economic growth in Georgia will be the highest

Fitch forecasts Georgia's real GDP growth of 4.3% in 2021 and 5.8% in 2022, following a pandemic-induced recession estimated at 6.1% in 2020.

"Fitch expects Georgia to recover at a faster pace than the average growth rate of comparable 'BB' countries (4.0% in 2021 and 3.7% in 2022). The main downside risks to our baseline indicators are associated with uncertainties associated with the development of the pandemic and the effectiveness of the rollout of vaccinations, "- said in a press release.

According to Agency analysts, GDP growth in Georgia will be mainly driven by domestic demand, as relaxation of national restrictions supports private consumption, and higher than historical spending on public infrastructure will stimulate investment, despite a weak recovery of private sector.

The agency advises that fiscal policy will remain flexible in 2021 as the authorities continue to provide targeted support to individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. This includes continued income tax incentives for businesses that retain low-paid workers, a loan guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and social transfers for vulnerable households and the unemployed.

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