Time in Yerevan: 11:07,   20 May 2024

Georgia in the spotlight of tourists from the Middle East. What are the possibilities of Armenia?

Georgia in the spotlight of tourists from the Middle East. What are the possibilities of 
Armenia?
YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. According to statistics provided by the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GTNA) 4,703,945 tourists visited Georgia in 2022, more than 80% of them were Europeans and 4.4% were citizens of the Middle East countries.

 In the overall picture of inbound tourism, the number of visitors from the Middle East is very small but dynamics is significant in this case. According to the results of 2022, Georgia has received 208,341 tourists from the Middle East, which is 15 times more than ten years before.

Moreover, the increase in the number of visitors from the region has exceeded the pre-pandemic level. Furthermore, the former Soviet republic admitted almost 160,000 visitors from the Middle East in 2019. Georgia is popular among tourists from the Middle East not only thanks to its picturesque views, affordable hotels, and relative proximity but also because of the growing availability of halal food and Arabic-speaking guides (Middle East Monitor, 2022).

The increase in the number of visitors from the Middle East is mainly due to tourists from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia, which accounts for more than 50% of the total number of tourists from the Middle East. In 2022, the number of tourists from Saudi Arabia increased by 60% compared to the pre-pandemic period of 2019, reaching 119,921 visitors.

Let's consider how the above-mentioned success factors for Georgia work and examine the possibilities of achieving similar results in Armenia.

Citizens of only 45 countries can enter Armenia without a visa and stay in the country for up to 180 days, which is twice less than in the case of Georgia, when this opportunity is given to citizens of 107 countries (Table 4). Moreover, only citizens of two countries of the Middle East- UAE and Qatar are allowed to visit Armenia without a visa.

Unlike Georgia, in Armenia the number of direct flights from many airports of the region (Dubai, Doha, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam) is less and they are more expensive.

The price of a round trip ticket from the mentioned cities to Armenia if booked two months before the date of departure is 82 - 470 Euros while the average price is 454 Euros.

At the same time, Armenia is considered one of the safest countries in the world, according to the Numbeo crime index as of July 2023, Armenia ranks 6th in terms of security, with a crime index of 21.6 and a safety index of 78.4. This is a notably high safety index, surpassing that of Georgia, which holds the 20th position. In terms of safety, Armenia is a much more preferred destination for tourists compared to Georgia (Numbeo, 2023).

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