Georgia’s tourism industry is facing financial trouble

TBILISI(BPI)- Georgian tourism sector , which has been the most affected by the coronacrisis, enjoys tax benefits for a period of 4 months, but the business representatives believe that this is not enough.

It is assumed that in June and July travel companies and hotels will be able to open offices and resume work, but this does not mean that the industry will start to revive from that time. The local  tour operators believe  the first foreign tourists will appear in Georgia no earlier than October-November.

According to the founder of the travel company Maya Murachishvili, the sector needs tax benefits at least until the end of the year.

“The Ministry of Economy should present a plan to help the tourism sector given the number of employed in this sector and its impact on the economy. Work is underway in which representatives of the tourism sector are involved. The goal of the program is to help the tourism business, ”she notes.

In Murachishvili’s words, the tourism sector has its own proposals regarding both taxes and the participation of companies in international exhibitions in a bid to attract foreign tourists.

“It is well known that the tourism sector suffered the most from the pandemic both in Georgia and around the world. Other businesses, such as restaurants, will be able to get out of the crisis, but tourism, especially inbound tourism, has completely collapsed, and its recovery will begin much later than in other sectors of the economy. We can’t  predict when we will be able to return to the targets for 2020. We are too dependent on the international situation and successes in the fight against coronavirus, ”she explains.

Murachishvili believes that Georgia should position itself in the future as a country with a high level of epidemiological safety, as this is a very important factor in our time.

“Georgia’s  tourism industry is facing financial trouble. Our activity has its own specifics – it includes the participation in exhibitions throughout the year, conduct an advertising campaign abroad, look for partners, attract tourists from various countries that requires considerable investments. But now the tourism sector does not have enough recourses to pour into the industry and  if the state subsidizes this activity, it will be very good for tourism development ,” Maya Murachishvili says.

She points out that the cost of international travel will significantly decrease.

“Now all over the world people have less money than before the pandemic, so the tours that used to cost $ 1,000, will not be sold for the same amount and the firms will be forced to reduce the cost of tour packages. The purchasing power of those who spent $ 10,000 on a trip is projected to decline by 40%, ”she explains.

All this, in  Maya Murachishvili’s words, will bring certain losses as even if a tourist flow is  restored, this will not mean the revenues will be the same as in the pre-crisis period.

“The tourism sector will need subsidies for some time in order to stay afloat amid falling prices and adapt to new reality,” she says.

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