The Georgian government has decided to assist the country’s tourism sector by partially paying their bank loan interests in order to help the field develop after the Russian ban on flights with Georgia.
The statement was made by the Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze who said the government will help entrepreneurs involved in tourism, in particular owners of small and medium hotels, in co-financing loans.
“The most important thing for us is to support our citizens who are employed in the tourism sector, among them the most vulnerable group – owners of small and medium hotels. Many of them have bank loans, taken to develop the appropriate infrastructure, and we will help them co-finance the interest of these loans,” he announced.
“Consequently, the mechanism we have created with the European Union, in cooperation with European institutions, is a credit warranty scheme that will be directed to those entrepreneurs employed in the tourism sector. All projects that have been planned and which now face obstacles [due to the Russian flight ban] will be assisted. No hotel construction should be stopped,” he stressed.
The Minister said that work is ongoing to co-finance the interest rates on bank loans and financing of marketing activities and added that the Ministry of Economy is working with the Ministry of Finance to do so. The service will also be utilized by the “Produce in Georgia” project.
Turnava says that apart from helping to pay the interest on loans, the Credit-Guarantee Scheme introduced by the government gives guarantees to the banks when owners of small and medium hotels want to expand their businesses and need loans.
“The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be fully oriented to these types of businesses and will offer an additional guarantee to banks, not only supporting existing businesses but also promoting their expansion and financing interesting projects,” she explained.
“We have an ongoing contract with CNN, Bloomberg and National Geographic where Georgia is advertised and popularized as being a safe and attractive country for tourists. Marketing plans and campaigns have been activated for the Baltic States, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine,” she said.
Bloggers and journalists will come to Georgia from the United States, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, as well as from the Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Israel, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The guests will visit various parts of Georgia and film resorts and tourist attractions, to prepare videos, reports and articles about Georgia as a tourist attraction and a safe country, with unique culture and diverse nature.
Georgian tourism faces challenges after Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed an embargo on direct flights with Georgia, which significantly reduced the inflow of tourists and visitors to the country- Russian tourists amount to around 25% of the total visitors annually.
By Thea Morrison
Image source: reginfo.ge