Larsi, one of the ways Russians can enter Georgia without a visa and stay for up to 90 days, which 30 000 have done since Saakashvili announced the new rules February 28.

TBILISI, DFWatch – About 30 000 Russians have entered Georgia since visa restrictions were lifted February 28.

This is seventy per cent higher than the same period last year.

Before President Mikheil Saakashvili the liberalized visa rules for Russians, there was visa freedom for inhabitants of Russia’s Northern Caucasus republics, dating back to October 2010.

Both the old and new rules allow for stay of up to 90 days.

The president’s spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze said yesterday that Saakashvili was on the Russian border at Larsi check point, where he personally had the opportunity to see how the visa liberalization works.

Manjgaladze says the increase in Russian visitors proves that it was a reasonable decision.

“In addition this is extra financial resource for Georgia’s tourism infrastructure. More tourists means more employed people.”