Information on Georgia
Safety and Security (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia)
World Economic Forum
Influential Swiss non-governmental organization - World Economic Forum has published annual “The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017”, according which Georgia is on 29th position amongst 136 countries in terms of safety and security (in 2013 country retained 51st position, in 2015 32ndposition).
World Economic Forum defines security index in accordance to various criteria, including impact of violence and criminal on business. According to the mentioned index, Georgia is currently on the 22nd place.
In accordance with Numbeo Crime Index 2017 report, Georgia took 7th position among 125 countries. Pursuant to research, safety level in Georgia highly maintained and crime statistics are low. As reported, overall crime index in Georgia is 20.83 and safety index – 79.17.
Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user provided data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.
The Numbeo figures are frequently used by prominent international broadcasting means, in particular: BBC, Times, Forbes, The Economist, New-York Times, The Telegraph and the Washington Post.
Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 -US Department of State
According to the annual report of US State Department Georgia took a place in the Tier 1, which is considered as the highest rank. The rank shows governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, which are generally consistent with the Palermo Protocol.
According to the report, the Government of Georgia fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period, in particular by adopting the 2017-2018 national action plan and continuing proactive investigations and screening of vulnerable populations for trafficking indicators;
Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - US Department of State
Annual report of US State Department underlines, that the government of Georgia is largely capable of detecting, deterring, and responding to terrorism incidents. Georgia, a longstanding member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, continued its strong engagement with the United States across a range of counterterrorism-related issues and remained a solid U.S. global security partner. The country continued to enhance its counterterrorism legislation in 2016 and now has a substantial legal framework for prosecuting terrorism-related offenses.
According to the Report, “Georgia remains the largest troop contributor per capita, the largest non-NATO contributor, and the fourth-largest troop overall contributor, after only the United States, Germany, and Italy, to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan, with more than 870 troops deployed”.
Georgia has improved its overall border security, in part due to its goal of attaining visa-free travel to the European Union. Georgian Coast Guard is properly equipped to patrol the country’s maritime borders, with the exception of Russian-occupied Abkhazia’s coastline. Georgia shares cross-border terrorism-related information with its southern neighbours – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey – through police attachés and working-level interaction at border crossings.
Healthcare (Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia)
There are 278 in-patient facilities in Georgia, which provide high quality medical services in all regions of the country. If you became ill or injured, you can call to the emergency service 112 or you can visit a nearby medical institution where you receive a high-level medical care.
Procedure for importing drugs and psychotropic substances in Georgia for individual needs is available in the following link:
According to the Georgian legislation, 10 standard packages of pharmaceutical products (except for special control drugs), also unregistered medicines are allowed to be imported into the territory of Georgia for individual needs. If the imported amount of the medicine exceeds 10 standard packages, appropriate application together with the medical documents (Form #100/brief medical report) should be submitted to the State Regulation Agency for Medical Activities to issue import permission letter for unauthorized pharmaceutical product to be imported for personal use.
Tourism (Georgian National Tourism Administration)
Tourism plays a major role in the development of the Georgian economy, and is a key contributor to the government’s socio-economic goals. The sector has expanded significantly since 2013, with record results in 2017 of the country being visited by more than 7.5 million international arrivals traveling to the country.
Notably, alongside the numbers, the diversity of visitors has also expanded. We have seen strong growth from the Middle Eastern markets, in particular, the GCC region, and Europe. With this, relatively new markets for Georgia, such as India and China are also on the rise.
Tourism is a part of Georgia’s 4 Point Reform Agenda
Aiming to substantially improve the business environment in Georgia, while increasing the competitiveness of the private sector in the country, the Government of Georgia has initiated a 4 Point reform plan, and is actively engaged to implement the corresponding processes:
- Economic Development
- Taxation system reform - retained earnings are free of tax - meaning profit tax will be deductible only in case of profit distribution.
- Simplified tax administration
- Supporting startups financing via various mechanisms
- Tourism promotion, etc.
- Education System Reform – aim of the reform is to offer qualified labor market to the private sector thus improve their productivity and competitiveness
- Fundamentally reform higher education system
- Vocational education reform
- Infrastructure and Regional Development
- Accelerate the implementation of strategically vital infrastructural projects
- Increase transit capacity of the country – up to 60% of cargo in Georgia is transit oriented, therefore we need to increase our role as of regional hub
- Good Governance
- Increase effectiveness of Government institutions via the strictly established monitoring system. Enhanced supervision of important state projects.
- Improved Government to business relations - the creation of so-called “front office” which will work with a principle of “single window” offering publicservices to the private sector. This will improve the effectiveness of public services and will save time and resources of the private sector.
In accordance with the aforementioned, Georgia strives to become a four-season destination and places particular emphasis on the following activities:
- Development of tourist infrastructure;
- Travel facilitation;
- Country promotion;
- Service quality improvement;
- Creation of new tourist products.
For 2017, the Georgian National Tourism Administration undertook widespread marketing campaigns in various targets markets, including:
- Winter season Internet marketing campaigns in 19 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Turkey, UAE, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, UK, Bahrain, Kuwait
- Summer season Internet marketing campaigns in 14 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Turkey, UAE, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- TV advertisements in four countries: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus.
- Georgia was represented on more than 22 international tourism trade fairs and expos.
- With this, by the invitation of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the country hosted over 640 journalist and media representatives, and more than 240 tour operators throughout the year
Georgia also implements targeted marketing campaigns on the renowned travel portal “TripAdvisor” and “Expedia”. Herewith, the Administration has close relations with “Google”, which analysis and supports the planning of marketing campaigns.
Georgia Tourism Strategy 2025
Georgian National Tourism Administration, the World Bank Group, and consulting company “Solimar International” have developed - “Georgia Tourism Strategy 2025”, which clearly outlines the vision for the development of the industry for the upcoming years.
According to the Strategy, by 2025 Georgia will receive over 11 million international arrivals. Moreover, considering that the Government of Georgia aims to further diversify tourism markets and increase the share of travellers from Europe, Asia, and other regions. With this, the international receipts from tourism will more than triple, average spending per visitor shall increase to almost twice the amount, and the length of stay per visit will grow.
In this regards, the strategy presents concrete steps, 8 strategic objectives, 50 priority actions, and more than 100 activities, for the country to raising awareness about its tourism potential in target markets, assist the private sector in the creation of higher quality and niche tourism product, and improve service quality. With this, development of infrastructure and attraction of new investments will be the driving force for advancement and diversification in the industry. Furthermore, the Government of Georgia aims to uphold sustainable principals of development, and one of the eight strategic objectives highlighted within the strategy is to “Respect, preserve and enhance Georgia’s natural and cultural heritage”.
Regional Development Programs and Infrastructure
The Government of Georgia has undertaken major initiatives to address infrastructural issues in various tourist destinations, including the development of roads, highways, utilities, ski lifts, and other relevant platforms.
Herewith, alongside the World Bank Group, the Government of Georgia has implemented Regional Development Programs (RDP)-The projects focus on benefitting the local residents of each region, including restoration of historical houses, urban regeneration, improved municipal services and infrastructure, tourism SMEs support and job creation, development of an attractive, varied and safe tourism circuits. Each project is expected to boost the volume of private sector investment in the region, and increase points of sales (tourism-related enterprises) in renovated culture heritage sites and historic cities.
Three projects are under way:
- Kakheti region (RDP I; with World Bank contribution) – finalized in 2017;
- Imereti region (RDP-II; with World Bank contribution) – will be finalized in 2018;
- Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Samtskhe-Javakheti (RDP III; with World Bank contribution) – will be finalized in 2019.
Visa regime: The liberal visa regime has had a considerable effect on increasing both the number and the diversity of visitors traveling to Georgia. Currently, the country upholds a visa-free regime with 98 nations and Resident Permit Holders of 50 states. Furthermore, in 2015 Georgia launched an e-visa portal (evisa.gov.ge), which grants citizens of foreign countries the ability to apply for Georgian visa online.
Hereby, Georgia has a special regulation according to which visitors holding a valid visa for the United States, EU member states, Schengen Area and of several other countries, such as Japan, Korea, UAE may enter the country without a visa;
Establishment of the Convention Bureau and MICE tourism
Considering the importance of developing the MICE tourism sector in the country, in 2016 the Government of Georgia established the country’s first Convention Bureau.
The Convention and Exhibition Bureau of Georgia operates as a sub-division of the Georgian
National Tourism Administration. The Bureau is fully government funded and has private sector members, representing sectors of the MICE tourism value-chain: DMCs & PCOs, Hotels, Venues, Airlines, and Supporting industry (catering, transportation, AV, etc.).
Each Convention Bureau member is selected in accordance with strict criteria and application process. The Bureau is growing quickly, within one year, it already has over 44 members from various segments.
Furthermore, noticing our efforts and accomplishments the „Buying Business Travel Awards 2016” named Georgia best MICE tourism destination abroad. The country was nominated alongside well-established players in the market, such as Dubai, Azerbaijan, etc.
The Bureau achieved another major milestone in 2017, with the country winning its first bid to host the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations’ 18thCongress in January of 2019.
Service quality improvement is of paramount significance for the country. For this reason, Georgian National Tourism Administration has a multi-dimensional training program for private sector representatives. In 2017, around 1,300 people were trained in over 18 destinations throughout the country.
Georgia in International Ratings (Ministry of Economy and Sustainable
Development of Georgia)
After successful reforms that supported business and investment environment and development of international economic relations, recent ongoing and planned reforms are oriented at structural transformation of the economy and inclusive access to the economic opportunities. Today Georgia is one of the leading countries in terms of attractive investment environment mainly due to implemented reforms and significantly improved business environment in the recent years.
Moreover, country’s economic growth is supported by structural reforms and appropriate economic policy. Growth oriented reforms of the Government of Georgia comprises several aspects of country’s economic development and aims to address the existing challenges.
The progress of investment environment improvement has been recognized and applauded by international communities. As a result, Georgia has improved its positions in various ratings.
According to “Doing Business 2018” by the World Bank, Georgia made significant progress in the ranking and takes the 9th position globally (among 190 countries) and the 1st positions in region of Europe & Central Asia (among 24 countries). In 2018, Georgia is listed among regional leaders in the top 20 countries on the total count of reforms. Georgia has implemented the highest number of business regulation reforms since 2003 – a total of 47.
Georgia is among top 10 countries in the following areas – a) Protecting Minority Investors - 2nd position, b) Registering Property - 3rd position, c) Starting a Business - 4th position and d) Enforcing Contracts – 7th position.
According to Economic Freedom of the World 2017 by Fraser Institute, Georgia is in the list of top ten countries and takes 8th position with the score of 8.01 amongst 159 countries in the mostly free group. Georgia improved its positions in the areas, such as government spending, government enterprises and investments, protection of property rights, tariffs, regulatory trade barriers, credit market regulations, business regulations, etc.
According to “Index of Economic Freedom 2018” by The Heritage Foundation, Georgia is the most liberal economy in the region. Georgia’s economic freedom score is 76.2, making its economy the 16th freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.2 point, with a substantial improvement in property rights, government integrity/freedom from corruption, tax burden, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom and trade freedom. Georgia is ranked 9th among 44 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages.
According to “Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018” by the World Economic Forum, Georgia is in the list of top ten countries in the areas, such as annual inflation (1st position), trade tariffs (4th position), number of days to start a business (6th position), strength of investor protection (7th position), total tax rate (8th position), burden of government regulation (9th position) and malaria cases (1st position).
Georgia improved its position in the following areas: intellectual property protection, public trust in politicians, strength of investor protection, effectiveness of anti-monopoly policy, total tax rate, annual inflation, ease of access to loans, foreign market size, capacity for innovation, government procurement of advanced technology products, company spending on R&D, etc.
According to Corruption perception Index 2018th by Transparency International, Georgia takes the 1st position in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region (amongst 19 countries) EECA.
 Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, has made efforts to address the problem, and meets the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.