In August 2008, the prospect of Tbilisi as a thriving tourist destination was distant and improbable. Georgia was at war with Russia over the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a conflict that displaced around 192,000 people. Now, the tourism industry is booming as more and more people come to this corner of the Caucasus.
The rise has been dramatic. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of international visitors to Georgia increased by just under 5.1 million, according to data from The World Bank. The Georgian National Tourism Administration reported that there were 7,554,936 international arrivals in 2017, an increase of 18.8% on the previous year.
But why? The absence of conflict is undoubtedly a reason, but it is also worth bearing in mind that the majority of tourism infrastructure only came into being after 1991 and Georgia’s separation from the Soviet Union. Visit Georgia, one of the country’s leading tourism companies, was only founded in 1997.
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