Tourism Development to enter a new Phase following the Russian Embargo

Mananiko Ugulava – Partner at Les Roches

We must move to a new phase of development of our tourism sector. Together we ought to ensure that we create the human capital that is capable of offering our visitors high-quality services.

Every challenge can become an opportunity, and that is exactly what we should be thinking today.

“In the Chinese language, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.”

John Kennedy

We must move to a new phase of development of our tourism sector. Together we ought to ensure that we create the human capital that is capable of offering our visitors high-quality services.

We must share the experience of numerous countries which confirms that within the broad spectrum of contexts and institutions, skills are closely related to social and economic results. Skill development helps eliminate inequality and enables social mobility. Investing in human capital is not only the most effective way of increasing it, but also the fairest way of distributing profit in general.

Achieving our goal requires a joint effort from the private sector, which is putting a great amount of resources in tourism development; state institutions, which have together announced many vital initiatives and plans; and educational facilities.

Together with our international partners, we are also prepared to do anything to achieve the aforementioned objective. All our partners have expressed their willingness to become involved in this process, help us raise quality and, most importantly, allow us to establish ourselves on new markets.

Market diversification is the most important challenge facing us today.

Of the 8.7 million tourists who visited Georgia in 2018, 1,404,757 (approximately 20%) were from Russia. It is expected that their number will fall by 10% this year, but we believe that we can fill the gap by attracting visitors from other markets. The new circumstances will motivate us to become better at what we were doing. We will see that it is vitally important to fight together and act systemically.

I would also like to emphasise that we need to separate politicians from the general population. I have read and listened to comments by numerous Russian nationals who are totally unhappy about what is happening at the moment. We must therefore be more careful with our assessments.

The new circumstances will motivate us to become better at what we were doing. We will see that it is vitally important to fight together and act systemically. Together we can achieve everything. I recall Guram Dochanashvili’s words: “Alone, you were weak, helpless and scared. Until a few moments ago, you were living in darkness. Now that you are with me, do you not see the daylight? One human being is a source of light for another.”

Each moment is an opportunity to become organised, each person is a potential activist, and each minute is a chance to change the world.

I will conclude with another great quote, this time by Murman Lebanidze: “I live for you, oh my Georgia!”

Indeed, we must all live for the sake of our unique country, and we must do everything to turn it into an exemplary state. I firmly believe that we can achieve this. 

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