In Q3 of 2023, the number of international visits reached 2.3 million visits, recording a 21% YoY increase, however, only reaching 83% of visits in Q3 of 2019.
Among the top countries of origin for international visits, in the following periods, visits from Israel are expected to decline due to geopolitical issues. However, visits from China are set to increase gradually with the new visa-free policy. Additionally, India’s tourism market remains promising, despite some border crossing challenges for visitors.
In Q3 of 2023, income from international travel reached USD 1.4 billion, which significantly surpasses the pre-pandemic number by 28%, however, showing an incremental 5% rise compared to Q3 of 2022.
In October 2023, compared to October 2022, the Hotel Price Index (HPI) in Georgia decreased by 11.1%, with the yearly HPI at its lowest under the “guesthouses” category (-18.7%). Meanwhile, compared to September 2023, the HPI in October 2023 dropped by 11.3%.
In the first half of 2023, the number of domestic visits amounted to 9.2 million, which is 15% higher compared to the corresponding period of 2022. The upturn in domestic visits this year, following a year-on-year decline in the previous year, was especially pronounced in the Q2 of 2023, where the number of visits rose by 25% compared to the Q2 of 2022.
The total expenditure of domestic visitors reached GEL 1.4 billion in the first half of 2023, which is 14% higher compared to the corresponding period of 2022. By categories, in the first half of 2023, compared to the first half of 2022, the expenditure of domestic visitors on shopping (by 17%) and food and drinks (25%) increased significantly.
In September 2023, compared to September 2022, the Hotel Price Index (HPI) in Georgia decreased by 10.0%, with the yearly HPI at its lowest under the “guesthouses” category (-14.3%). Meanwhile, compared to August 2023, the HPI in September 2023 dropped by 6.2%.
Since the beginning of 2023, the tourism sector in Georgia has been showing signs of significant recovery. Therefore, with this background, it is interesting to analyze the latest hotel price dynamics in Georgia.
Since the beginning of 2023, the year-on-year (YoY) Hotel Price Index (HPI) in Georgia has experienced notable fluctuations, with a significant decline in the summer months. That drop was mainly attributed to the YoY price decrease for guesthouses.
To provide a better understanding of the latest price changes of hotels, the regional analysis is crucial. In the summer months of 2023, the YoY HPI in Adjara was positive and significant for all categories of hotels (16%) in June, followed by a decline in July (-2.8%) and August (-0.2%). This could partially be attributed to the relatively low demand in seaside locations, in some instances due to visitors’ sea safety concerns.
In the first half of 2023, the number of international visits to Georgia reached 2.5 million visits, which is 21.7% lower than in the first half of 2019 (referred to as the corresponding pre-pandemic figure). This relatively slow recovery could be attributed to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War and related disruptions to Georgia’s tourism sector.
From a regional perspective, the number of international visits originating from Europe in the first half of 2023 was well below the pre-pandemic number (-23.3%), while for all other regions, the number of visits matched or exceeded the pre-pandemic figure.
Despite only a partial recovery in the number of international visitors in the first half of 2023 against the corresponding period of 2019, income from international travel reached USD 1.8 billion, representing a 24% increase compared to the first half of 2019.
According to the National Bank of Georgia, as of 30 June 2023, 38.4% of Russian citizens, 34.9% of Belarusian citizens, and 28.0% of Ukrainian citizens residing in Georgia were estimated to have been living in the country for at least one year or were intending to stay for more than one year.
Considering these estimates, income from Russian travelers was at its highest in the first half of 2023 when it amounted to USD 482.1 million (equating to 26.7% of total income from international travel), which is 9.4% higher compared to the same period of 2019.
In 2022, the recovery level of international tourist arrivals to Georgia (72%) was higher compared to the averages of the world (63%), and Central/Eastern Europe (59%), yet lower than that of Europe as a whole (80%). The rate of recovery for Georgia accelerated in Q1 of 2023, reaching 96%, above the averages of the world (80%), Europe as a whole (90%), and Central/Eastern Europe (59%).
However, among selected comparable countries in which tourism makes a large contribution to the national economy, Georgia’s performance was not so outstanding in 2022. Specifically, high levels of recovery in the number of international tourists were evident in all such nations, with Albania even exceeding its pre-pandemic figure, followed by Greece and Croatia showing a strong rebound, while Georgia performed the worst among these four countries.
In a regional context, Turkey and Armenia showed better performance regarding the recovery of international tourist arrivals than Georgia both in 2022 and in Q1 of 2023.
In Q1 of 2023, 1.05 million passengers were transported by airline companies in Georgia, which is 3.3% higher compared to the corresponding pre-pandemic (Q1 of 2019) figure.
Despite significant YoY growth, the number of passengers traveling to and from Tbilisi airport did not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels (-11% compared to Q1 of 2019), while the number of passengers traveling through Kutaisi and Batumi airports exceeded pre-pandemic numbers significantly.
Throughout the winter season of 2022-2023, regular flights to and from Georgian airports were provided by 41 airlines on 61 routes. The average number of flights per week over this period was 390, which is 6% lower compared to the scheduled weekly flights for the winter season of 2018-2019.
In the summer season of 2023, the number of airlines is expected to rise to 43, while the number of routes is expected to increase to 88. The average number of weekly flights will reach 555, which is 42.3% higher compared to the previous season, and 5.9% lower compared to the number of scheduled flights in the summer season of 2019.
In Q1 of 2023, the number of international visits to Georgia reached a total of 1.1 million, which amounts to 79.9% of the corresponding quarter of 2019 (i.e. the pre-pandemic level).
In Q1 of 2023, Russia was the biggest source country of visitors to Georgia, amounting to 256,787 visits (exceeding the pre-pandemic level by 1.1%).
In Q1 of 2023 the income from international travel reached USD 795.4 million, which is 38% higher compared to the pre-pandemic number.
In terms of nationality, the income from Russian travelers was the highest in Q1 of 2023 and amounted to USD 266.4 million - 29% higher than in Q1 of 2019.
Notably, according to the National Bank of Georgia, as of 31 March 2023, 35.5% of Russian citizens, 23.7% of Ukrainian citizens, and 44% of Belarusian citizens residing in Georgia were estimated to have been living in the country for one year or intending to stay for more than one year, and their expenditure is not included in the calculations of income from travel.
In 2022, the number of domestic visits amounted to 16.3 million visits, which is 3.6% lower compared to 2021, and 14.6% higher compared to the pre-pandemic number, indicating continuing increased demand for tourist activities from domestic visitors, albeit at a decelerating rate.
In 2022, the average nights spent per visit fully returned to the pre-pandemic number, showing the reversal of the behavior of domestic visitors after the growth in the length of stay in 2020 and 2021.
The expenditure of domestic visitors reached GEL 3 billion, which is higher both compared to the previous year (by 9.8%) and 2019 (by 61.7%).
In absolute values, in 2022, compared to 2021, the expenditures of domestic visitors on transport (by GEL 75.5 mln), accommodation (by GEL 43.7 mln), and food and drinks (by GEL 38 bln) increased significantly.
In 2022, the number of outbound visits made by Georgian residents tripled compared to 2021 and reached 1.7 million, equating to 71% of the pre-pandemic figure.
In 2022, a significant proportion of outbound visits were to Turkey (54%), followed by Russia (14%). Notably, the number of outbound visits to Russia exceeded the pre-pandemic figure by 49% with the highest quarterly increase (143%) coming in Q3 of 2022 compared to Q3 of 2019.
The most popular purpose of outbound visits in 2022 was shopping, representing 41% of total visits, while this number was equal to 29% in 2019. The share of shopping also increased in total expenditure of outbound visitors, reaching GEL 759 million, marking a 16% increase compared to 2019.
In 2022, the number of international visitors reached a total of 3.9 million, which is 176% higher compared to 2021 and amounts to 65% of the pre-pandemic (2019) total. In 2022, the highest number of visitors to Georgia came from Russia, amounting to 915,000. Russia was followed by neighboring countries: Turkey (711 thousand) and Armenia (531 thousand).
In 2022, the income from international travel reached USD 3.5 billion, which is 8% higher compared to 2019. The recovery was gradual but by Q4 of 2022, it had exceeded the corresponding figure for Q4 of 2019 by 46%.
In terms of nationality, the income from Russian travelers was the highest in 2022 and amounted to USD 891 million (25.3% of total income), which is 15% higher compared to 2019. Meanwhile, income from Ukrainian travelers exceeded the pre-pandemic number by 52% and reached USD 282 million.