President Saakashvili said on June 25 that Georgia launches National Presidential Program to boost tourism infrastructure in order to attract at least 2,5 million people to Georgia’s resorts annually.
Mikheil Saakashvili was speaking at a meeting with regional governors, who are appointed by the President, to discuss what is being done in the country’s regions to boost tourism through infrastructure development.
Approximately 500-600 thousand people, including foreigners, visited Georgia’s resorts in 2005, Saakashvili said.
“Our goal is to increase this figure in next few years at least fourfold, or maybe even fivefold. This is absolutely realistic [target],” he added.
He said that at an initial stage two schools of tourism will be set up – one in Tbilisi and another one in Kobuleti – to train a qualified staff who can provide a high quality of service in tourism centers including in hotels and restaurants. A third school of this kind will be established in Borjomi on the next stage, Saakashvili said.
“In general, quality of service, which is an important factor for attraction of foreigners, is not satisfactory,” he added.
He said that creation of tourism infrastructure at the historic and cultural centers throughout Georgia is another part of the National Presidential Program to boost tourism.
“We should create very modern museums… Creation of Museum of History of Batumi and Museum of Alfred Nobel in Batumi are very important projects… There are numerous museums in Georgia, but who goes there? In most of the cases no one [goes to the most of the existing museums], because we need well-equipped museums of high standard,” Saakashvili added.
“Ancient fortress in Gonio with its unique water supply system is a unique historical monument… When we are asked today: are you European? Let these Europeans arrive here and see what kind of water supply system was here two thousand years ago,” the Georgian President said.
Saakashvili also said that starting from August TV advertisements of Georgia will appear on CNN and EuroNews. In early June the Georgian government has allocated USD 175,000 for this purpose.
He also noted that heightening security measures should also become part of the tourism development strategy. “The police are already instructed in this respect,” he said.
Zaza Gorozia, the governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, told the President that a group of Italian tourists were recently attacked and robbed in Svaneti.
“We should eradicate criminality once and for ever in Svaneti… Every single case of this kind means first of all an attack on welfare of local population,” Saakashvili added.
He also said that Georgia will soon purchase several planes from Ukraine to increase in summer period number of flights between Tbilisi and Mestia, Svaneti.