TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of visitors to Georgia in June dropped eight percent compared to the same period last year, according to new figures published on Monday by the Interior Ministry.
Around 450,000 people visited Georgia in June. The summer drop breaks a trend since the war in 2008 of every summer season being better than the last, and is also a departure from the trend in the first half of the year, which saw a two percent increase to 2.2 million visitors.
Broken down by type of visit, about 864,000 of the visitors were tourists in January to June; 7.7 percent more than last year. Slightly more than 400,000 of the visitors used Georgia as a transit country; 3 percent less than last year. Almost a million people visited for other purposes; 0.2 percent less than last year.
In June, 2014, the highest number of visitors came from Turkey, but the number was nine percent less than last year.
Other significant countries of origin were Azerbaijan, with 15 percent more visitors; Armenia, 19 percent down; Russia, 20 percent down; and Ukraine 10 percent up.
The figures also show that the border crossing with Russia at Larsi, in Kazbegi, is being used much more by Russians than by Georgians. About sixty percent of persons passing through Larsi this year have been Russian citizens, and more than two thirds of those came from the North Ossetian republic.
Only six percent of people passing through Larsi were Georgian citizens in January to June, 2014.