TBILISI, DFWatch–The majority of foreign visitors to Georgia in 2013 came from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran.
As there is no mechanism to categorize people crossing the border of the country, the government provides general information about the total number of visitors to Georgia. According to the newest data from the Interior Ministry, the number of foreign visitors increases annually, and the increase was quite significant in 2012 compared to previous years.
In 2006, the total number of foreign visitors was 763 231, while in 2012 it was 4 389 256. In 2011, it was 2 822 363. In the first two months of 2013, 565 612 visitors came to Georgia, and the majority of them were from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Previously, the ministry used to publish only the total number of visitors, but the new report suggests three optional categories, which are tourists, which the ministry defines as a foreigner who crosses the state border and remains in the country no less than 24 hours and no more than one year; transit – a visit of a foreigner who crosses the border and after no longer than 24 hours goes on to a third country, and the third category is ‘the rest’ – all other types of visits.
In 2012, there were 1 789 592 tourists, according to the report, which is 40.8 percent of the total number; 754 938 were transits – 17.2 percent and the rest – 1 844 726 or 42 percent of the total visits.
“By the end of the year, the rate of increase was reduced from 19 to 22 percent (October 2012 – January 2013),” the report reads. “However, the intensity of the increase has grown from February and it reached 56 percent.”
The number of visitors in January-February, 2013 was 565 612, which is 37.2 percent more than it was in 2012. 206 418 out of this, or 36.5 percent, are tourists and 70 299, or 12.4 percent, are people transiting.