4.4 million tourists visited Georgia in 2012; a 56 % increase. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of tourists grew by 56 percent in 2012, according to the National Tourism Administration. 4 389 256 tourists visited Georgia last year.

In the period from January to May 2013, the number of tourists was 1 698 146, which is an increase of 31 percent compared to last year.

Broken down by country, the majority of visitors came from Turkey with 616 864, Azerbaijan – 355 809, Armenia – 353 732 and Russia – 184 287, followed by Ukraine 38 049, Iran – 26 360, US – 9 044 and Germany – 8 682.

According to the National Tourism Administration, 57 percent of all visitors to Georgia are tourists. The administration defines a visitor as a person who stays at least one night in the country.

38 percent of visitors come for holidays, 20 percent come to visit friends and relatives, while 5 percent are here on business trip. The capital remains the most popular destination for tourists with 44 percent, followed by Batumi, a city on Black Sea shores with 43 percent.

By the end of the year the administration assumes there will be about five million tourists in total.

The National Tourism Administration cooperates with tourist agencies as well as the ministries for foreign affairs, agriculture, economy and culture.