Issue 3, 2019. June-July


INVESTMENT NEWS provides a brief update on investments and changes in government policy that could impact the business environment.

Passenger Traffic Up by 20 Percent at Georgian Airports in Jan-April
Georgian airports served 20 percent more passengers in January-April 2019 than they did in the same period of 2018, with a total of 1,450,847 passengers.
The largest increase in passenger flow was experienced by Kutaisi International Airport, where growth reached 89 percent in the first four months of 2019 in comparison to 2017, followed by Batumi International Airport with 30 percent and Tbilisi International Airport with 11percent.
The smaller regional airports of Queen Tamar Airport in Mestia, Svaneti, and Ambrolauri Airport in Racha experienced 16 percent and 20 percent growth respectively.

Number of Tourists Visiting Georgia Increases in April
The number of tourists traveling to Georgia in April 2019 jumped by 4.2 percent in comparison to the same time period in 2018, the Georgian National Tourism Administration reports.
The highest number of tourists were recorded from Uzbekistan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, China and the United Arab Emirates.

Jan-April 2019: Georgia earns $63 mln by exporting 26 mln bottles of wine
Georgia exported 26 million bottles of wine in January-April 2019 to 38 different countries, posting a 4 percent increase in bottle sales year-on-year, the Georgian National Wine Agency reports.
Profits from the sale of Georgian wine abroad rose 7 percent to $63.2 million.
The top five countries purchasing the most Georgian wine were Russia (16.8 million bottles) followed by China (2.19 million), Poland (1.17 million), Belarus (604,000) and the USA (219,713).
More than 179 Georgian companies sold wine abroad in the reporting period.

UN to Spend $100 mln on Projects in Georgia in 2019-2020
The United Nations plans to spend about $100 million on a number of projects in Georgia in between 2019 and 2020, the Georgian Public Broadcaster's First Channel reported in early May.
The money will largely go to projects in democratic governance, employment and social protection, education, health and community resilience.

Portugal Ready to Legally Employ Georgians
The government of Portugal has announced that it is ready to sign an agreement with Georgia to allow Georgian citizens to work legally in Portugal for pre-determined periods, according to set critera, before returning home.
Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that circular migration is in the interests of all parties, given that it will help reduce unemployment in Georgia and reduce illegal immigration in Europe.
Portugal will be the second country with which Georgia will have such a labour agreement after France.

175 mln GEL in Georgia's Accumulative Pension System
There were more than 740,000 people enrolled in Georgia's accumulative pension system also of late April, and 174 million lari (about $64 million) in the fund.
Of those enrolled in the new pension plan, 187,000 people work in the public sector, while slightly more than 581,000 are employed in the private sector.
There are 294,852 adults aged 40 and older who are allowed to opt out of the pension system if they desire.
As of late April, 2,915 people had opted out of the pension system.

World Bank projects 4.6 Percent Economic Growth in Georgia
Growth forecasts for the Georgian economy remain steady, as the World Bank projected 4.6 percent growth for Georgia in 2019, while the Asian Development Bank has put the indicator as high as 5 percent.
Forecasts differed in early April among the two financial institutions as to what will happen in the following years.
The ADB put growth at 4.9 percent for 2020, while the World Bank predicts continuous growth - up to 4.8 percent in 2020 and 5 percent in 2021.

Georgian Hotels to Receive Hotelstars Union Ratings
Hotels in Georgia will now be rated according to an official five-star ranking system.
The ranking will be carried out by Hotelstars Union - an EU based organization that offers a harmonized rating system of hotel, restaurant and other tourism facilities.
Hotels will not be obliged to receive a ranking, however institutions interested in being included in the assessment must be a member of the Georgian Federation of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes.

Counterfeit bill data released
The annual report of the National Bank says 100 lari notes are the most commonly counterfeited in Georgia. The report notes that counterfeit bills were down 5.5 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. The report says that last year, 9,030 bills and coins were inspected in Georgia, of which 6,737 were deemed counterfeits.
In addition to 4,865 lari banknotes and 870 lari coins, $608 banknotes and 198 euro bills were also found to be counterfeits.