An interview with the regional coordinator of the World Tourism Organization Beka Jakeli
The first half of 2017 ended with a 14% increase in the number of tourists in Georgia. What is the overall picture on the global tourism market?
The increase in the number of tourists in Georgia cannot but rejoice, and this is noted in many reports of international organizations.
We are not talking only about dry figures, and this applies not only to Georgia. As early as 15 years ago, many governments in various countries did not take seriously the role of tourism in economic development.
But as soon as tourism started to bring serious revenue, everything changed immediately. Today the governments of the countries with highest natural gas and oil reserves declare tourism their priority. It is quite logical that the Georgian government is actively working to develop the tourism industry.
The private sector often criticizes the marketing campaign of the National Tourism Administration. What could you recommend to the Administration?
First of all, it should be understood that as mobile technologies develop, television advertising is losing its relevance, and today states prefer digital marketing.
The main criterion when selecting target markets is the stability of the economy. If the country is in a state of recession, then the advertising campaign there does not make sense. It is also necessary to study the income level of the population, direct flights and some other factors.
I would advise conducting a marketing campaign for specific segments - for example, for newlyweds, for pensioners, etc.
How would you assess the Check in Georgia project, for which 20 million were allocated from the budget? Has the invitation of pop stars been tested at the global level to stimulate foreign tourism?
Culture and sport are very actively used to attract tourists, these kinds of events are held mainly in off-season to revive the resorts and make them in demand all year round.
In developing countries, this is usually done jointly by the state and the private sector, whereas in developed countries - only by private. In my opinion, public financing can be considered successful if each invested 1 dollar brings $ 10 in direct and indirect costs; direct - the purchase of tickets, indirect - spending in hotels, restaurants, transport, e.
Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations' World Tourism Organization, stated that every country should have something that causes specific associations with it. What is Georgia associated with today?
Today we hear the same thing from a potential tourist - a unique and authentic environment, rich history, cultural monuments, and a virgin landscape.