Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday announced visa-free travel to the country for Chinese citizens, citing attracting visitors and mutual economic investments among “main interests” behind the decision.
Garibashvili cited $3.5 billion in direct income from tourism he said the state budget had received last year and said the Government expected more in 2023, while adding his team was working to attract more visitors from new markets.
The Government head recalled his “very successful” visit to China in late July, which saw relations between the two countries elevated to a strategic partnership, by noting China was the second largest economy in the world.
One of the main interests for us is the strengthening of trade and economic relations with China. Attracting more investments from China, as well as attracting more tourists, bringing them to Georgia. We made a decision to implement visa-free travel for Chinese citizens. We will issue a corresponding decree. Of course, it will be important and encouraging for more tourists to come to Georgia”, he noted.
The PM said travellers from China were “one of the most desirable” for countries across the world, and added the Government also wanted to see more direct flights launched with China.
The Government head added his team wanted “more tourists to come not only from China, but also from other countries” and added the goal was to see “[a]s many tourists as possible to see our amazing country [and] people”, while the initiative would also be of “benefit for our citizens”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping in late July announced the establishment of a strategic partnership with Georgia and a “new stage” in bilateral ties between the two countries in his meeting with Garibashvili on the sidelines of the Summer World University Games in Chengdu.