Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Georgia has seamlessly integrated aspects of various cultures, while at the same time retaining its own unparalleled identity.
Covering a territory of 69,700 sq. km., the country is renowned for its fascinating history, majestic Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea coastline, curative climate, healing mineral waters, national parks and UNESCO Heritage Sites. For centuries Georgia has been the cultural, educational and transportation hub for the Caucasus region; with some of the most famous trade routes like the Silk Road passing on its soil. The country’s consecutive integration into the European Union represents one of the most important directions of the nation’s political and economic development. In 2014, Georgia signed an Association Agreement with the European Union and in 2017 the country was granted visa free regime with the EU.
Today, Georgia ranks among the most prospective countries in Europe; with the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index 2014 -2015 placing the nation 23rd out of 144 countries with the least amount of irregular payments and bribes, and the World Bank Group acknowledged Georgia on the 16th place in “Doing Business” index.
The authenticity and unique cultural heritage, alongside top rankings in the world’s most prestigious indexes have turned Georgia into a premier travel destination in the region. The number of visitors to the country has been growing drastically for the past decade and in 2016, international arrivals exceeded the 6.3 million mark, with expected 7 million arrivals being reached in 2017.
In 2016, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Georgian National Tourism Administration established the country’s first Convention Bureau, currently the member of ICCA, Central European Chapter. The Georgian Convention and Exhibition Bureau operates as a sub-division of the National Tourism Administration, and just within a year of operation has unified all major players within Georgia’s MICE sector. The Bureau is fully government funded, with each Convention Bureau member being selected in accordance with strict criteria and application process, and currently has 42 private sector members, representing sectors of the MICE tourism value-chain: DMCs & PCOs, Hotels, Venues, Airlines, and Supporting industry (catering, transportation, AV, etc.). Amongst the Bureau members, there are major brand name hotels and local favorites, with some of the most prominent DMCs and PCOs, alongside the largest venues in Georgia.
The Bureau has reached considerable success, with „Buying Business Travel Awards 2016” naming Georgia the best MICE tourism destination abroad. The country was nominated alongside well-established players in the market, such as Dubai, Baku, etc. During the ceremony, organizers highlighted the growing interest of tourist towards the country, and the accomplishments of the recently established Convention and Exhibition Bureau of Georgia. The Bureau achieved another major milestone in 2017, with the country winning the bid to host the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations’ 18th Congress in January of 2019. Herewith, with the support of the Bureau and the United Airports of Georgia, the country will host the Connect-Aviation event on 20-23 of February 2018.
Today, Georgia is a modern and superiorly safe country, offers various sized venues and diversity of accommodations in Tbilisi – the capital city, Batumi – sea side resort, and throughout the regions. At the same time, a country maintaining a visa-free regime with 97 nations and Resident Permit Holders of 50 states, including GCC and European nations. An e-visa option is also available (evisa.gov.ge), and holders of a valid visa for the United States, EU member states, Japan, Korea and the GCC countries may enter the country without a visa. Adding to this, the fact that the country is considered to be the birthplace of wine, with traditions of winemaking dating back 8,000 years; Georgia might just be the next great destination for any MICE planner out there.
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