Georgia: no tourists, hotels on the verge of ruin
These figures were announced at a meeting of representatives of the Georgian tourism sector, dedicated to the situation that has developed due to the coronavirus.
The chairman of the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants, Shalva Alaverdashvili, stated that the tourism industry of Georgia has been one of the first to receive a blow from the coronavirus.
“Over the past 5-6 days, 80-90 percent of reservations for hotel rooms in March-April have been canceled. This means the industry is on the brink of ruin. This is due to the coronavirus alone and nothing else. There are no other culprits. We must think about how to get out of this situation, and what to do in order to retain staff,” Alaverdashvili said.
Alaverdashvili said that Tbilisi has sustained the heaviest blow, as in most other regions the tourist season is either over or has not yet begun.
“In Tbilisi, the season starts in March. This month, especially many tourists come from Muslim countries for Noruz to holiday. If the situation does not change, then we should expect massive layoffs in hotels. It is worth noting that about 100,000 people are employed in the tourism sector,” Alaverdashvili said.
Another problem, he said, is banks in which representatives of the tourism industry took out loans for the new season: there are no tourists, respectively, there are also no receipts, and loans must be paid.
The tourism industry is likely to ask for help and understanding.
In 2019, the Georgian tourism industry received approximately $3.5 billion, while the entire economy of Georgia is estimated at around 18 billion dollars.