Georgia has become the first country to host the session of the World Tourism Organisation’s (WTO) Executive Council outside the borders of Spain.
Delivering a speech during the 112th session of WTO in Tbilisi earlier today, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated that Georgia and WTO ‘have been linked with long, successful cooperation which is becoming more and more fruitful.’
It is of high importance for us that Georgia has become the first country to host the session outside the borders of Spain,” Gakharia said, expressing gratitude to the organisation members and the Georgian Secretary General of WTO Zurab Pololikashvili.
Gakharia said that the tourism sector worldwide and in Georgia has been ‘seriously affected’ by the global pandemic.
If we look at the figures of previous years, Georgia was one of the leading states worldwide for tourism development. The tourism sector amounts to 8.1 per cent of the state economy,” Gakharia said.
SG @Pololikashvili welcomes #UNWTO‘s Members to #UNWTOECGeorgia, celebrating the importance of tourism to create opportunities and upholding our responsibility to ensure its benefits are enjoyed widely and fairly.#UNWTOEC#UNTWOECGeorgia pic.twitter.com/tQi0Uf85qo
— World Tourism Organization (@UNWTO) September 16, 2020
He stated that in 2019 alone Georgia received a record number of international visitors – 9.4 million – ‘which is a big success for a 3.7 million-person state.’
Gakharia said that the government has taken ‘major steps’ to develop state infrastructure, raise international awareness of Georgia, create a safe and comfortable environment for visitors, create new tourist products and allow new, direct flights.
The measures taken by us and the uniqueness of Georgia will make our country one of the leading players in global tourism,” Gakharia said.
Gakharia stated that the Georgian government has had two primary goals in the fight against the coronavirus – to ensure the health of people and to save the state economy.
Tourism has had one of the major places in the government’s anti-crisis plan. The government has stood by the tourism sector with different state programmes, allowances, have helped them to postpone their bank obligations and others,” Gakharia said.
He stated that Georgia received green state status during the pandemic – the status of one of the safest tourism destinations, ‘ which allows us to start a new stage of economic development in the post-crisis period.’
The post-crisis period in the tourism sector in Georgia should be an opportunity. We have goals to make the crisis, the pandemic, as an opportunity for the state tourism industry,” Gakharia said.
The WTO session is running in Tbilisi between September 15-17.