TBILISI, DFWatch – In first four months of 2012, 61 per cent more people came to Georgia, compared to the same period the previous year.

978 521 person visited Georgia between January and April this year, according to the Interior Ministry.

Over three hundred thousand people came in April alone. The total number of visitors in all of 2011 was 2.8 million.

Georgia allows visa free visits for citizens of about 80 countries, which allows for a 360 days stay in Georgia without a visa.

In February, President Mikheil Saakashvili canceled visa requirements also for Russians. The Ministry reported a significant increase in Russian visitors in March and said visits had tripled over the Lars border checkpoint, which connects Georgia to Russia. The growth continued in April, with a 98 per cent increase in Russians, compared to 2011, and a four fold increase of Russians arriving through Lars.

During the first four months of 2012, the majority of visitors came from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran. Visitors from EU countries have also increased, according to Interior Ministry. The number was more than visitors from Ukraine and Iran.

The number of visitors from Moldova and Austria has increased by 73 and 83 per cent.