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Issue no: 1198/204

• OCT. 29 - NOV. 1, 2019



In this week’s issue...

FOCUS ON LUXURY YACHTING Yachting meets Italian design with AzimutBenetti, now in Georgia

Weekly Entrepreneurial News @entrepreneur.ge



Patriarch’s Chorepiscopos Resigns NEWS PAGE 2

Georgia’s Draft 2020 State Budget & Its Priorities BUSINESS PAGE 5

Radisson Collection Hotel Tsinandali Estate Hosts 3rd Annual Planners Xtraordinairè Show BUSINESS PAGE 7


Large-scale Cyber Attacks Hit Georgia


yberattacks were launched this morning on numerous governmental, presidential and commerical websites in Georgia. Government websites (with .GOV endings) were paralyzed. For the cybercrime, the attackers utilized a photo of Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili sporting a Georgian flag and the message “I’ll be back”. Currently, several Georgian TV channels and radio stations are disabled, while various web portals remain inaccessible. The official web-page of President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili has also been hacked. As a result, the photo of the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili appeared on the black background, with the inscription “I’ll be back”. The web-page remained inaccessible for some time during the day. The websites affected by the cyber-attack are mainly placed on the Pro

USAID, CENN Launch New Environmental Campaign #SayNoToPlastic BUSINESS PAGE 8

ITC Executive Director: Redrafting the Roots of Int’l Trade for the Future BUSINESS PAGE 13

US Special Forces Operation Kills ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi BUSINESS PAGE 15 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

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Service server. The company stated today that this is a ‘global error’. The representatives of Pro Service noted that they are working to resolve this serious issue as soon as possible. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has launched an investigation into the hacking of thousands of websites under two articles. The investigation was initially launched under Article 284 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving the unauthorized access to a computer system. Later, Article 286 of the Criminal Code was added to the investigation, involving the unauthorized damage, deletion, replacement or concealment of computer data.


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Patriarch’s Chorepiscopos Resigns BY ANA DUMBADZE

@entrepreneur.ge Gamarjoba! I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgian edition of Entrepreneur magazine and I’m here to share the top weekly Entrepreneurial news with you: Nodar Nadaria, a geodesist by profession, is the first person in Georgia to create a snail farm. After collaborating with American colleagues, he tried farming nuts, and then kiwi. He got interested in this unusual production for Georgia a while ago. Thanks to the United Agrocredit project, he brought 300,000 snails to Georgia from Italy, housing them on six hectares of land. Profitability is 90% and the product is in deficit in Italy. The Italians assured him before he started the business that they would export as much of the production from Georgia as possible. This year, his first ‘harvest’ brought Nodar up to 20 tons of snails. There are 10 people employed on the snail farm and Nodar plans to build an industrial enterprise and open an educational center. How can wine simplify communication between people? The answer to that question was found by two 20-year-olds, Davit Migineishvili and Ana Kurdadze. Wine Ness is a brand new bottling of Saperavi from the village of Anagi, Kakheti. Pure wine has been stored in Qvevri and aims to help people express their thoughts and emotions. How, you ask? Each wine label is unique and sincere, as it is specially made for the customer who orders it. Soon, they plan to add production of Tvishi wine and then to open up a wine bar. Poteria is a social studio-enterprise from Etsia which aims to keep the traditions of Georgian handcrafting and involve women who conflict with the law. The founders of Estia, three friends: Elisabed Dimitriadi, Natia Nozadze, and Natia Kalmakhelidze, decided to make their job more efficient and valuable, transforming their studio into a social studioenterprise. The studio welcomes anyone interested in handcrafting and clay. Poteria also provides an educational course on pottery. After one year of active work, the enterprise-studio has become a space where one can buy unique clay items, have creative relaxation, and become enlightened in the traditional Georgian handcrafting – all 3 in 1. Follow the Entrepreneur Georgia Instagram page to get the latest updates from Georgian Entrepreneurs. For doing business with Georgian Entrepreneurs, write us on business@entrepreneur.ge


ishop Iakob has resigned as the Patriarch’s Chorepiscopos, making the respective statement when talking to journalists after leaving the Patriarchate today. “I made a decision to step down as Chorepiscopos and head of the Finance and Economic Council. It was my decision. I remain in the eparchy," he noted. In addition, he has apologized to the public for his abusive words used while on-air on a TV Pirveli program a few days ago. In particular, the Chorbishop of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia told TV Pirveli that government officials tried to negotiate with him on the Patriarch’s dismissal. He named the participants of the meeting – then-Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, current Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, and former head of the State Security Service and

current Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri. According to Archbishop Iakob, representatives of the Church, for example, Metropolitan Petre, also participated in this “conspiracy”, and various versions were discussed, including the possibility to

liquidate the Patriarch. He said that he asks for forgiveness, however, "the public should also consider his condition, as he had been hiding a lot of important information for three years.“ "I do not take my words back," he added.

as well as members of the Georgian government, representatives of diplomatic corps, partners and Swiss citizens residing in Georgia. Within the framework of the official visit, the Swiss delegation will meet with

Archil Talakvadze, the Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani. The Swiss delegation will leave Georgia on October 30.

Grand Opening Ceremony of New Swiss Embassy Building in Tbilisi


n October 28, Parliament Speaker of Switzerland, Marina Carobbio Gushet, and Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Archil Talakvadze, opened the new building of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tbilisi. The opening was attended by members of the Swiss and Georgian Parliament,





Parliament Speaker of Switzerland, Marina Carobbio Gushet Opens New Swiss Embassy Building in Tbilisi good governance. In these areas, Switzerland is one of the largest per capita donors.

WHAT ABOUT THE ROLE OF SWITZERLAND AS A MEDIATING PARTY IN THE GEORGIA AND RUSSIA CONUNDRUM? As part of its Good Offices, Switzerland represents Russia's interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia, in the absence of diplomatic relations between them. We also act as a mediator and facilitator, for example in the implementation of the Customs Monitoring Agreement. And, in the framework of our Human Security program, we contribute to confidence building and dialogue in the region. In the end, it boils down to one simple point: we want to improve the lives of the persons who are affected by this situation. Establishing direct channels of communication is one of the key elements in that regard. I am particularly pleased that Switzerland was able to initiate and facilitate the first meeting between the ministers of foreign affairs of Georgia and Russia since 12 years.




arliament Speaker of Switzerland, Marina Carobbio Gushet, came to Georgia to inaugurate the new building of the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi, which brings together the various Swiss players under one roof. The new Embassy represents Switzerland’s commitment to consolidating their presence in Georgia and to further strengthening the partnership between the two countries. “My visit is part of the regular exchanges between our two parliaments,” she told GEORGIA TODAY. “One of my predecessors, Christa Markwalder, was here in 2016 and the former Chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze visited Switzerland last year. I hope that cooperation between our parliaments will further deepen and expand in the next years, as part of the already excellent relations between our countries.”

COULD YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR TAKE ON SWISSGEORGIAN RELATIONS? Our relations are excellent, and they stretch back as far as the 19th century when Swiss farmers settled in Georgia and brought Swiss expertise of cheese making to the region. Switzerland and Georgia have a great deal in common. We are both small countries with robust mountainous mentalities and traditions. Because of our strategic locations, we are both important transport and logistics hubs. We also have similar concerns in the international arena: as small countries, we are in favor of a stable and reliable order based on international law. Today, around 35 Swiss companies are operating in Georgia. They can rely on a solid set of conditions, with agreements on free trade, the promotion and protection of investment, and the protection of geographical indications. This year, bilateral trade increased by 19% in comparison with 2017, and there certainly is further growth potential. On the academic level, there is a growing interest in exchanges, as shown by the

recently concluded agreements between Swiss and Georgian universities. Another sector that may bring us closer is tourism, where my country can share a lot in terms of human skills and sustainable infrastructure development. I was pleased to learn that there are Swiss trains operating between Tbilisi and Batumi; why not bring these trains to Stepantsminda, Mestia or Telavi in the future? In Switzerland, we decided in 1992 to build new railway connections across the Alps, with the longest railway tunnel in the world of 57 km; we had to wait until 2016 to see its opening, but now the whole of

Europe can benefit from it. The consolidation of Switzerland’s presence in Georgia also means that we will continue our efforts to assist the Georgian population on the path to inclusive social and economic development, and to promote peace and stability in the region. Already in the early 90s, Switzerland was among the first countries to provide humanitarian aid to Georgia. Since then, we have actively pursued our cooperation program to foster economic growth, the sustainable use of natural resources, education, women’s economic empowerment, and

Indeed - dialogue is always better than conflict, and we mean it. In the last two decades, Switzerland took part in 20 peace mediation processes in 15 countries and regions. These have included several peace treaties that brought an end to civil wars. There are currently two important formats of dialogue related to the relations between Georgia and Russia: The Geneva International Discussions and the AbashidzeKarasin meetings. Even though Switzerland is not part of these formats, we welcome them because direct channels of communication are essential to solve issues of common interest. It takes time, effort and patience. To engage in a dialogue does not mean to

agree. It is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, diplomacy and dialogue are needed most when circumstances are challenging.

IN 2020, GEORGIA WILL HAVE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH A 0% PASSING THRESHOLD. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUR GEORGIAN COLLEAGUES? I was very pleased to learn about the recent evolution of Georgia’s democratic system into a parliamentary democracy, and about the planned introduction of a fully proportional electoral system. I hope these changes will lead to an adequate representation of the different stakeholders of society within parliament, and thus contribute to the evolution of a sustainable, strong democracy in Georgia. More generally, I wish to stress the importance of developing a culture of political dialogue based on respect. As Switzerland’s experience shows, constructive compromise is not a weakness but a strength. Politics must revolve around the contest of ideas and not focus on competition between individuals.

SINCE EVERY NOW AND THEN THE IDEA OF ‘SWISS KNOW-HOW OF NEUTRALITY’ RESURFACES AS A ROLE MODEL FOR GEORGIA, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT? CAN A POOR COUNTRY WITH NO FINANCES OR ARMY TO SPEAK OF, AND WITH TERRITORIAL CONFLICTS TO BOOT, ENTERTAIN IDEAS OF POSSIBLE NEUTRALITY? The Swiss model of neutrality is the fruit of unique historical evolutions, and cannot be exported as such. I can only stress that, in my view, there are three important prerequisites for a successful development of a country: regional peace and security, internal political stability with strong democratic institutions and an excellent education system. As far as these aspects are concerned, Switzerland is committed to strengthening its support to Georgia in the future.




Georgia’s Draft 2020 State Budget & Its Priorities

Image source: thestar.com



he draft 2020 state budget of Georgia reads that the 2020 expenditures will be GEL 14.2 billion ($4.82 billion) while the economic growth rate will be 5% next year. The expected USD/GEL exchange rate is predicted to be 2.95 and the annual inflation is set at 3%. According to the draft already submitted by the government, the budget receipts will increase by GEL 1.2 billion ($407 million), of which GEL 675 million ($229 m) comes from tax revenues and GEL 570 million ($193.53 m) from public debt. The budget expenses will increase by GEL one billion, with the largest amount, GEL 451 million ($153.13 m), going to increased social spending. Administrative expenses will increase by GEL 194 million ($65.87 m) and remuneration expenses will increase by GEL 91 million ($30.9 m). In total, the administrative expenses will be GEL 2.9 billion ($0.98 b). Moreover, 76% of the increased remuneration expense comes from three agencies: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, GEL 30 million ($10.19m), the Central Election Commission, GEL 20 million ($6.79m), and the Ministry of Defense at GEL 20 million ($6.79m). Both the official and the traditional budget deficits are increasing next year. The negative gross balance will be 3.5% of the GDP and the traditional deficit will be 4% of the GDP. Funding for the Universal Healthcare Program will not increase, with GEL 754 million ($256m) still allocated. However, this year's expenses show that the program will need additional funding of about GEL 40 million ($13.58m). Employee numbers in budgetary organizations will increase by 111 persons. Also, there will be a significant change in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, with the number of employees in the Ministry of Internal Affairs increasing by 1,000, while the number of employees in the Ministry of Defense will decrease by 1,250. In addition to this, from 2020, state pensions will be increased by GEL 20-50 and salaries of public kindergarten employees by GEL 100, teachers by GEL 150, police officers by GEL 125, and a number of doctors will receive GEL 100 more per month. Non-governmental Organization Transparency International (TI) Georgia says that increases in pensions and salaries are expected from July 1 or September 1, which may be motivated by the October 2020 parliamentary elections.

The NGO added that compared to 2019, the budget operating balance will decrease by GEL 482 million, which is undesirable for sustainable long-term economic growth. In 2020, the debt of the Government of Georgia will increase by GEL 1,757 million, of which GEL 856 million ($290.63 m) will be domestic debt and GEL 901 million ($305.91 m) will be foreign. At the end of 2020, the public debt will reach GEL 22.7 billion ($7.71b), which will be 46.8% of the projected GDP. TI says that according to the Socio-Economic Development Strategy adopted by the government in 2013, Georgia's public debt should have been less than 40% of GDP by 2020 but it will likely be much higher. It also believes that in some cases, proper program budgeting remains a problem. “Among large spending institutions, the programs and sub-programs in the field of education are particularly noteworthy. Although the low quality of education is one of the major problems in Georgia, the goal of the School Education program is not to improve the quality of education, nor to provide relevant progress indicators,” the NGO noted. The organization also pointed out that the expected outputs and indicators of budget programs are still annexed and do not appear in the main text of the Law on 2020 State Budget. “This shows that there is no appropriate approach to program budgeting. At present, the main purpose of budgetary policy is to execute the plans and fully utilize the allocated funds,” TI said. The NGO also gave some recommendations regarding the draft budget 2020: • The government should refrain from implementing projects such as increasing state pensions and the salaries of budgetary organizations in the months prior to the elections. “Such actions are perceived as a misuse of administration resources, which can significantly damage the electoral environment”; • In light of tightened monetary policy and reduced FDI, it is better for the government to plan its budget at a more realistic economic growth rate; • Government spending, budget deficits and increased public debt will have a negative impact on the GEL exchange rate and inflation. The government should think about reducing public debt, instead of raising it; • Proper control over budgeting needs to be tightened to maximize cost-effectiveness. Particular attention should be paid to the proper selection of performance evaluation indicators.






The Italian Luxury Yacht Market Enters Georgia U

ltimate excellence is luxury yachting meeting Italian design. AzimutBenetti, based in Viareggio, Italy, is the leading yacht-manufacturing company. Established in 1969 by Paolo Vitelli, the company continues to push the boundaries of quality, design and performance. One factor behind the company’s success has been its intent to strengthen its global yachting network, with a record number of 70 sales and assistance offices worldwide. After six years of ceaseless negotiations, the company decided to enter the Georgian market with the name Azimut Yacht Georgia. Although the country lacks the necessary infrastructure to fully support the yachting industry, AzimutBenetti put faith in its potential. AzimutBenetti has always had novelty as part of its heritage. All this became possible due to both the company’s reformist and farsighted character and the wholehearted efforts of one Georgian member of the AzimutBenetti Group. GEORGIA TODAY interviewed Giorgi Chikvaidze, the Regional Director of Azimut Yacht Georgia.

HOW DID YOU ENTER THE YACHTING INDUSTRY? I visited Cannes as a tourist about seven years ago. In the course of my visit, I attended the Cannes Yachting Festival. The experience was so enthralling that I decided to inquire into the realm of luxury yachting. Shortly after beginning this quest, I was confident that I wanted with all my heart to become a part of it. Altogether positive that I had found my passion, I went straight to the leading yacht-manufacturing company- AzimutBenetti. Being overweight at the time, I immediately learned that my upfront enthusiasm was not enough to set foot into the industry. I returned a year later with a completely altered lifestyle. I was admitted at the AzimutBenetti Academy. Now, 6 years later, In Georgia, I am the regional manager for the same company.

DO YOU CONSIDER WORKING FOR AZIMUTBENETTI TO BE THE PERFECT JOB FOR YOU? Being a veterinarian by profession, making way into the luxury boating sector came as a total transformation in my

life. I was immediately seduced by the magic that goes into the creation of an Azimut yacht- the Italian craftsmanship combined with an aesthetic approach and striking technological innovation. The Italian yachting industry is a production sector of quality and excellence, recognized all over the world.AzimutBenetti embraces professionalism and seeks perfection. I have come to admire the company’s competence in general. The targets include maximizing product quality, going the extra mile to gratify all kinds of clients, maintaining workplace safety, safeguarding the environment through the adoption of technology designed to minimize atmospheric emis-

sions, etc. Starting to work for theAzimutBenetti group for me was a dream come true. In this career I found myself; it’s what I feel I should be doing. I can tell from my own experience that if one learns to detect and follow that gleam of light that we call the dream, anything is attainable. I now aim to help those young people who share the passion with me to enter the industry without having to face as many obstacles as I did.

HOW DID AZIMUTBENETTI BECOME A PARTNER FOR GEORGIA? I always wanted to engage Georgia in the yachting industry. After five years of

earnest trying, my efforts proved worthwhile. In 2018, a branch of the company entered the country with the name AzimutBenetti Georgia. There are quite a few complications that still need to be addressed. The lack of infrastructure and the nonexistence of a yachting culture are to name just a few. Nonetheless, I find it quite promising that certain infrastructural projects have already been launched. Quite a few potential yacht-buyers have emerged in Georgia and several yachts have already been sold at the Cannes Yachting Festival. More than that, the demand from tourists to rent yachts has been steady. We continue working tirelessly on issues like this. The vital agreements that we have reached with the Maritime Transport Agency will be actualized next year. We also plan to select students from Batumi Academy each year and offer them free training in our factories. These youngsters will be knowledgeable in all required services to follow their passion once their country develops the essential infrastructure to fully support its yachting industry.

TELL US ABOUT THE UPCOMING YACHTING FESTIVAL IN CANNES. The Yachting Festival in Cannes is a pivotal event for the industry, where all the major companies come to showcase their new models. Visitors can appreciate the latest yachts on display. For the fifth year in a row,AzimutBenetti has maintained the status of the Year’s Leading Yacht Production Company due its outstanding design and innovative achievements. The company celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Four grandiose events have already been held in Dubai, New York, Cannes and Hong Kong; the grand finale is to be held in Italy at the Azimut headquarters in December. The whole Italian factory will be transformed into an event location, hosting high profile guests.

WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACT YOU’VE HAD ON YOUR CURRENT WORKPLACE? This year an occasion of great substance occurred for my country, which in part can be attributed to my efforts. The World Yachting Awards are held traditionally each year on the fifth day of the Cannes Yachting Festival. The event hosts a wide range of influential guests. Being a part of the organizational committee of the ceremony, I arranged for a Georgian vocalist to open and close the event. This put my country in the spotlight. In just a few days, an agreement was reached that starting in 2020 the Yacht Designer Award will be held in Georgia on an annual basis. For three full days each year, the country will host a myriad of respected and affluent people. All this is promising for future investments. This is much more than my accomplishment as a business operator; this is a promise of a more enterprising future for my country.





Radisson Collection Hotel Tsinandali Estate Hosts 3rd Annual Planners Xtraordinairè Show

developments in the luxury event space. Hosting such high profile events will promote Georgia and the Kakheti region as a wonderful destination not only to


he 3rd Edition of the Planners Xtraordinare show gathered leading event planners from around the world in Kakheti from October 22-24th. Last year, the event was held successfully in Italy, Lake Como. This year Radisson Collection Hotel Tsinandali Estate won the competition among other premium deluxe hotels of the world, chosen as the “hottest destination” of the region with the perfect mix of unique location, rich history, sophisticated design and variety of outstanding venues.

Over 200 global luxury event specialists from 40 countries attended the show, among them renowned luxury wedding and party planners, wedding designers, creative visual artists, local and global hotel representatives. The three-day event included workshops, sessions, networking panels, B2B meetings, conferences and an amazing show in the amphitheatre of Radisson Collection Hotel, Tsinandali Estate. The guests were welcomed to experience magical entertainment and participate in numerous stunning performances presented by the Italian group Nuart.

travel in but also to organize luxury and special events in. Photos by Dito Tediashvili

The magnificent gala dinner design was created by Vanilla events and the conferences were decorated by company ‘Georgian Events.’ The annual event is a great opportunity for luxury special event planners to network and engage in one-on-one meetings through appointments with top event suppliers and get insights into the luxury special events sector. The Planners Xtraordinaire show and congress was a perfect reason for guests to explore Georgia and the Kakheti region and the scenic venues the country has to offer, while discussing trends and

Georgia's Position in Doing Business 2020 BY TEA MARIAMIDZE


n the Doing Business (DB) 2020 report of the World Bank (WB) Georgia took 7th place out of 190 countries, raking among the world’s top countries. Although, compared to the same report of last year, its score has worsened by one position, the overall score has improved. In DB 2020, Georgia has 83.7 points while in the 2019 report it had 83.28. In the ranking, Georgia is ahead of such countries as Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania and others. Doing Business covers 12 areas of business regulation. Ten of these areas (starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency) are included in the Ease of Doing Business score and Ease of Doing Business ranking. DB also measures regulation on employing workers and contracting with the government, which are not included in the Ease of Doing Business score or ranking. Georgia's scores in each category are as follows: 1. Starting a business: 2 2. Dealing with construction permits: 21 3. Getting electricity: 42 4. Registering property: 5 5. Getting credit: 15 6. Protecting minority investors: 7 7. Paying taxes: 14 8. Trading across borders: 45 9. Enforcing contracts: 12 10. Resolving insolvency: 64 DB 2020 reads that it takes only one day in Georgia to pay a company registration fee, register the company with the Entrepreneurial Register, obtain an

Image source: allbusines.com

identification number and certificate of state and tax registration, and register for VAT (value added tax). Economic expert Giorgi Tsutskiridze says that despite the fact Georgia’s position has worsened by one point, none of its indicators in any category have reduced. “Georgia has improved scores in the top 10 indicators in every direction, and it is ranked in the top ten among 190 countries in the world in terms of three main indicators that largely determine investment attractiveness,” he said. The expert also noted that in October of this year, three important ratings were

published in which Georgia's economic performance was positively assessed: World Bank released another study of World Governance Indicators, which ranked Georgia among the best states in Europe in terms of corruption control. Then the leading rating company Standard & Poor’s (S&P) upgraded Georgia’s sovereign credit ratings to BB, with a stable outlook. The continuation of this positive trend is an improved position in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 ranking, according to which, Georgia is still the leader among the 23 countries of Europe and Central Asia.

TsutskiridzesaidadvancementintheWorld Bank'sratingindicatorsconfirminternational estimates that Georgia is one of the most successful reformers in the world. "At the same time, the ongoing systemic reforms in the country give good prospects that the international position of the country will increase further in the coming years, which will positively impact on increased investment flows, employment and economic growth as a whole," the expert said. Beka Liluashvili, the Prime Minister's Adviser on Economic Affairs, assessed Georgia's position in Doing Business, not-

ing that this is an indicator that the business environment in the country has been developing steadily in recent years. He said that the government wants to improve Georgia’s position in the DB rating. “Any decision regarding the business environment and its regulation is important to establish a consensus between the state, the business and the employee's human rights defender, which will positively impact the business environment overall,” he explained. Meanwhile, BDO Managing Partner Zurab Lalazashvili believes that Georgia’s positions in Doing Business increases investors’ interest towards Georgia, but specific investment decisions depend on other factors. According to him, the rating is important, though it is limited and only responds to specific tasks. “It does not include important factors such as availability of jobs in the labor market, a stable and predictable environment, efficiency of the court, as well as issues regarding the education system,” he added. Lalazashvili noted that it is very important for Georgia to be in the top ten, but adds that it should not only be focusing on a specific rating, but on building a sustainable economy in general. Earlier, Natia Turnava, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, noted Georgia had reached a historic high in the DB rating. “Georgia is in top position among 23 countries of Europe and Central Asia. The rating shows that the country continues to make progress and improve its scores,” she added. Doing Business 2020 is the 17th in a series of annual studies measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. The rating captures 294 regulatory reforms implemented between May 2018 and May 2019 and shows that worldwide, 115 economies made it easier to do business.





USAID, CENN Launch New Environmental Campaign #SayNoToPlastic


oday, plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products fast overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them. It represents a serious threat to the environment. Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics. Plastics are consumed by land-based

animals, including elephants, hyenas, zebras, tigers, camels, cattle, and other large mammals, in some cases causing death. Waste management and reduction of disposable plastic is one of the best solutions and Georgia is also involved in this initiative and is developing multiple projects and environmental campaigns supporting its waste management system. On October 25, with the support of USAID and CENN, the large-scale environmental campaign #SayNoToPlastic was launched. The campaign

Georgian Qvevri Wines Presented at International Exhibition in New York


eorgian Qvevri winemakers are participating in the International Exhibition of Natural Wines RAW Wine (The Artisan Wine Fair) in New York City, USA. With the support of the National Wine Agency, ten wine cellars from Georgia will be presented at the exhibition this year. Georgian winemakers note that the exhibition is successful, and there is great interest from professionals and consumers.

RAW Wine Exhibition is considered one of the best gathering of high quality natural and biodynamic wine producers. Visitors to the exhibition can also get acquainted with the ancient traditions of Georgian wine production, its culture and history. Companies participating in the New York Exhibition will also be exhibiting at RAW Wine LA in Los Angeles on November 3-4. The National Wine Agency reports.

aims at reducing environment pollution from plastic, and active and motivated youth, CENN partner organizations, embassies operating in Georgia, international organizations, well-known actors and journalists and other stakeholders are to be involved in it. Within the framework of the #SayNoToPlastic, a social media campaign was also launched, calling on the public to reduce their consumption of disposable plastics in their daily lives and to replace them with reusable items. The participants of the campaign will upload photos depicting their changes in behavior on social media under the title #SayNoToPlastic To raise public awareness of this problem, 48 conceptual posters created by Georgian designers within the Cannes Lions Georgia competition will be showcased in the shopping centers of Galleria Tbilisi and Tbilisi Mall. These posters feature the designers' view of environmental pollution with plastic waste and the reduction of consumption of disposable plastics in everyday life. Cannes Lions Posters exhibition schedule: 25/10 - 31/10 Gallery Tbilisi, Central Entrance 1/11 - 7/11 Tbilisi Mall, 2nd and 3rd floor As part of the campaign, CENN, through the USAID Waste Management Program, will actively promote raising public awareness of environment pollution with plastic. In this way, the

organization will spread interesting facts about the global results of daily plastic consumption on the Facebook page of the Program. With this campaign, everyone can contribute to protecting the environment. It is a part of the Waste Management Technology in Regions (WMTR) program implemented by CENN with the support of USAID. The program assists the Government of Georgia to modernize the country’s waste management sector and supports sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, ensuring responsible management of natural endowments that minimize adverse impacts from waste on

human health and natural resources.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Those interested in protecting the environment can take a photo of how they are replacing single-use plastic items with reusable alternatives, upload it onto social media with the #SayNoToPlastic title and tag the page @ WMTRProgram. Follow the page WMTRProgram and look out for the quiz to win a CENN / USAID gift package of environmentally friendly reusable items!




Georgia Returns to the Old New Silk Road

Battle of Didgori. Image source: historica.fandom.com



eorgia has historically been at the edge of empires. This has been both an asset and a hindrance to the development of the country. Hindrance because Georgia’s geography requires major investments to override its mountains, gorges and rivers. An asset because Georgia’s location allowed the country from time to time to position itself as a major transit territory between Europe and the Central Asia, and China further away. This geographic paradigm has been well in play in shaping Georgia’s geopolitical position even since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of modern technologies. Thereafter, Georgia has been playing a rebalancing game by turning to other regional powers to counter the resurgent Russia. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran (partly) and bigger players such as the EU and the US are those which have their own interest in the South Caucasus. However, over the past several years yet another power, China, with its still evolving Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has been slowly emerging in the South Caucasus. This how a new Silk Road concept gradually emerged at the borders of Georgia. In fact, a closer look at historical sources from the ancient, medieval or even 15th-19th cc. history of Georgia shows an unchanged pattern of major trade routes running to the south, west, east and north of Georgia. Those routes were usually connected to outer Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian hinterland.

In the 11th-12th cc. Georgian kings David IV, Giorgi III and Queen Tamar, spent decades of their rule trying to gain control over the famous Silk Roads

Only rarely did the routes include parts of the Georgian land and, when it happened, it lasted for merely a short period of time as geography precluded transit through Georgia: the Caucasus Mountains and seas constrained movement, while general geographic knowledge for centuries remained limited. It was only in the 11th-12th cc. that Georgian kings, David IV, Giorgi III and Queen Tamar, spent decades of their rule trying to gain control over neighboring territories with the goal to control the famous Silk Roads. Since, foreign invasions (Mongols, Ottomans, Persians, Russians) have largely prevented Georgia from playing a major transit role for transcontinental trade. This lasted until the break-up of the Soviet Union. After 1991, Georgia has returned to its positioning between the Black and Caspian seas, between Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Major roads, pipelines and railway lines go through Georgian territory. Moreover, major works are being done to expand and build existing and new Georgian ports on the Black Sea with the potential to transform Georgia into a sea trade hub. A good representation of Georgia’s rising position on the Silk Road was a major event held in Tbilisi on October 22-23 when up to 2000 politicians, potential investors from all over the world, visited the Georgian capital. The event was held for the third time since 2015 and attracted due attention. In total, 300 different meetings were held during the event. The hosting of the event underscores how Georgia has recently upped its historical role as a regional hub connecting Europe and Asia. On the map, it is in fact the shortest route between China and Europe. There is a revitalization of the ancient Silk Road taking place in Georgia. This could in turn make the country an increasingly attractive destination for foreign investment. Indeed, the regional context also helps Tbilisi to position itself, as Georgia has Free Trade Agreements with Turkey, the CIS countries, the EFTA and China and a DCFTA with the European Union, comprising a 2.3 billion consumer market. Thus, from a historical perspective, the modern Silk Road concept emanating from China arguably represents the biggest opportunity Georgia has had since the dissolution of the unified Georgian monarchy in 1490 when major roads criss-crossed the Georgian territory. In the future, when/if successive Georgian governments continue to carry out large infrastructural projects (roads, railways, sea ports), Tbilisi will be able to use those modern 'Silk Roads' to its geopolitical benefit, namely, gain bigger security guarantees from various global and regional powers to uphold its territorial integrity.






Saperavi of Qvevri from “Winery Chelti” in TOP 20 World Wines at Prestigious Decanter Asia Wine Awards BY ANA DUMBADZE


s it is widely known, Georgia is the homeland of wine and recent discoveries prove that it is the oldest wine-producing country in the world. Georgian wines have accordingly received a number of awards at international wine contests. Yet another Georgian wine has caught the eye of foreign experts and wine enthusiasts .In one of the most prestigious wine tastings ‘Decanter Asia,’ Chelti wine received 97 points, a platinum award and “Best in Show” status. Accordingly, Chelti wine has once again entered the list of TOP 20 wines from around the world. Decanter is one of the largest and most trustworthy wine competitions in the world, with jury members including leading wine experts. The Decanter competition is held at two locations each year - in England and in Asia. More than 3,000 wines from 37 countries from around the world were presented at the competition this year. The jury members described Chelti wine as the best Saperavi in the history of Decanter, competing with the wines produced in Europe's leading classic wine regions. The foreign experts note that the above proves that Georgian winemaking and Saperavi wine have unlimited potential to be the best in the world market. “This is certainly the best Saperavi

ever submitted to either DAWA or its London counterpart, the DWWA,” reads the website of the Decanter Asia Contest. “It's a qvevri version, but remember that for red wine this marks a less consequential difference from conventionally vinified wines than do amber qvevri wines from conventional whites (because all red wines are vinified with their skins). “The black-purple color is typical for young Saperavi - though the measure of this wine's quality comes with the fact that it's already three years old. The bubbling, swirling black-fruit aromas have a typical incense-like complexity, while its hugely energetic flavors, firm tannins and exuberant back palate are no less typical. “Not just a copybook example of Georgia's greatest red grape variety, but a wine from the Caucasus to put up against the best from Europe's classical regions,” reads the website of Decanter Asia Wine Awards about the Saperavi of Chelti Winery. This important success made Chelti wine even more famous in the foreign market, while the company has been offering excellent quality wine to Georgian customers for over twenty years now. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Ann Mirianashvili, Chief Marketing Officer of Chelti Winery, who elaborated on the company’s activities in Georgian and foreign markets, most notable achievements throughout its history and the recent success at large-scale wine competition.

TELL US ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CHELTI WINERY, ITS VINEYARDS AND PRODUCTS. Chelti is a family owned winery which was founded in 2001. The wine complex is located in the Kakheti region, in Shilda village, Kvareli district. The Mirianashvili family has more than 100 years of winemaking history. Our mission as a family-owned business is to provide our customers with quality wines that are all hand-crafted locally. We take pride in selecting the best ingredients and using a traditional, hands-on approach to wine making that is guided by our talented winemaker every step along the way. It is our dedication to quality and process that results in our outstanding, award-winning wines that can be enjoyed by everyone. Today, the Chelti complex combines 80 hectares of territory, which includes vineyards, traditional and modern wine cellars and a tourist complex.

WHAT FEATURES MAKE YOUR WINE UNIQUE AND DISTINGUISHED FROM OTHERS? At Chelti, we preserve 8000 years of unique Georgian winemaking traditions and pair them with the technologies of tomorrow. The location and microclimate of the territory play a big role in producing unique wines. Our winery is located under the Caucasus mountains, where we have created all the necessary conditions to produce premium products. We produce wine only from the grapes handpicked in our vineyards,

which surround our wine cellar. Chelti winery is equipped with state-of art technology and a traditional Qvevri cellar, making wine quality control possible at any stage of wine-making. Chelti’s wine cellar is located 7 m underground and holds temperatures between 12-16 degrees throughout the year, which is ideal for wine storage.

2019 WAS A VERY SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR YOUR COMPANY. TELL US ABOUT THESE ACHIEVEMENTS. In 2019, Chelti wines received numerous awards at the most prestigious wine tastings of the world. Saperavi of Qvevri received a platinum award and Best in Show status at Decanter and Grand Gold at Mundus Vini, which included Chelti in the list of Top 20 from around the world. In addition to that, in 2019, Chelti received 10 gold medals in Japan, Germany, China and other countries.

HOW WILL THE PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FROM DECANTER AFFECT THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS? WHAT ARE THE COMPANY'S FUTURE PLANS? Winery Chelti is actively working in 10 Markets and is trying to position Georgian wine as a premium product. The Decanter Platinum award is proof that Georgian wine can compete with leading wines of the world. We plan to enter more countries and show them the full potential of Georgian winemaking.





Hotel Zemeli is Welcoming Guests Hotel, while Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater is within a 10-minute walk. The Tbilisi International airport is 11 mi from the hotel, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service. The satisfied guests have also reported that, though the hotel is situated near the center of Tbilisi, in a very nice and quiet area, guarantying the perfect balance of both, adventurous and relaxing stay in the capital of Georgia. Zemeli hotel’s cuisine deserves a separate mention. The breakfast is included in the fee, and according to the hotel’s guests, it’s very tasty. The deliciousness of the Hotel Zemeli food has contributed much to the satisfaction of the clientele. Additionally, soon Zemeli will not only be a boutique hotel – in a few months it will expand into a café/lounge space



n the heart of Tbilisi, on Merab Kostava Street #15, hotel Zemeli has opened doors for guests. Rather new to the market, hotel Zemeli is already becoming the favorite of the visitors. The Zemeli Boutique Hotel is already known to offer carefully and tastefully chosen design and decorations, diverse and tasty cuisine, and high-quality service. Hotel Zemeli

answers well to the standards of the world market and is ready to welcome guests from every part of the world. Thanks to its convenient location, the comfort of the rooms and, the staff’s impeccable service Zemeli Boutique Hotel Tbilisi has the highest guest reviews. According to Booking.com, Zemeli Boutique Hotel is especially recommended for a romantic stay! Hotel Zemeli is a Boutique type of hotel, with 23 uniquely decorated modern, and comfortable rooms. Hotel Zemeli’s style mixes valuable original modern artworks with an unexpected

which will welcome everyone looking for some delicious food and pleasant atmosphere. It’s also important to note that the hotel charges reasonably, functioning in the mid-priced segment which is highly demanded but hardly supplied section in Georgia. Hotel Zemeli has opened recently and is not yet a big name. However, the number and range of its costumers are evergrowing. It is expected to become an internal part of Tbilisi city life, soon to become a place of professional or private meets for the residents and guests of the capital. Needless to say, the modernly designed Zemeli, the boutique hotel of 23 rooms and soon-to-be a café/lounge, offers a pleasant environment for its guests.

eclectic contemporary twist. The Boutique hotel takes pride in its diverse and healthy cuisine which is offered to the hotel guests in the lounge, located on the first floor of the building. The hotel stands out with its location it is right by the Rustaveli Metro Station, within walking distance from Rustaveli Theater, and Tbilisi Concert Hall. For those looking to explore the city of Tbilisi, Zemeli Hotel should be one of their top choices, as most of the city’s attractions are within the walking distance of Zemeli Boutique Hotel Tbilisi. Freedom Square is 1.1 mi from Zemeli Boutique

International Society on the Mountains of Georgia BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


he mountainous regions of Georgia are just one of its main beauties. No matter where you go in the country, you can always see its diverse landscape – the country is as mountainous as it is flat. Georgia’s terrain is as metaphorical as it is the place where East and West meet. It all speaks of the Georgian people and the dualism in their character. Maybe it is for this metaphorical significance, or it could be for its literal beauty, that the mountainous regions of Georgia are getting more and more worldwide recognition in the international press. Just last week, L’obs, an influential French magazine, published an article about the mountainous region of Georgia, Tusheti, urging its readers to visit the vertiginous region that is reached by ‘one of the most dangerous roads’ in the world. The French article tells the story of Tusheti, its past and how the old Georgian characteristics manifest today in the region. “Isolated, this region has kept all its wilderness and friendliness. Even today, the doors of most houses welcome you in and you are forced to consume many glasses of chacha,” reads the article. The author calls Tusheti ‘a little sister of the Alps’ and one of the pearls of Georgia. To give its readers a better clue as to where the region and country is, and what it has to offer, the writer mentions that Georgia was home to Stalin

Image source: Eurasianet.org; Nouvelobs.com

and Paradjanov (though Georgians themselves wouldn’t brag about having given the world Stalin). The L’obs article serves as a guide to its many readers, giving tips on how to get to Georgia, and where to stay, eat and go while they’re there. L'Obs, previously known as Le Nouvel Observateur, is a weekly French news magazine. Based on the 2nd arrondisse-

ment of Paris, it is the most prominent French general information magazine in terms of audience and circulation. Svaneti is another of the most picturesque regions of Georgia, and a more popular destination to tourists, perhaps. Just this month the region was featured as one of those beautiful landscapes of the Microsoft Windows lock screen. An image taken in Svaneti was the lock

screen of millions of Microsoft Windows users for a number of days. “Travel to this spot on the globe and Georgia may very well be on your mind” read the caption of the Svaneti lock screen, showing the mountains of the region. Last week, on October 23, Eurasianet published an article reviewing Svaneti, titled “Global tourism conquers Geor-

gia’s untamable Svaneti.” It tells the story of the beauty and challenges of the region. One of the most authentic regions, which is strict in its customs, it is a popular destination among American and Chinese tourists, and pretty much everyone from between the two lands. The Eurasianet story reviews from the locals’ perspective the pros and cons of globalization. The respondent tells the newspaper of her displeasure that they used to greet each other with a ‘how are you?’ But now with ever-growing numbers of tourists, the social communication is taking a hit – now in Svaneti they ask each other ‘how many’, implying the number of tourists they have hosted that very day. While this troubles Georgian conservatism, a more-open-minded view suggests an improvement: Georgia is being marked on the map of world importance with its touristic attractions. People who had left Lenjeri to escape hardscrabble mountain life have come back now that there are economic opportunities in Svaneti. “It warms my heart to see people return, and we have tourism to thank for it,” Lali Khaptani, respondent of Eurasianet told the newspaper. Eurasianet sums up the Svaneti story by calling it “Switzerland with an edge” and quoting the Guardian “Svaneti will make you wonder why you bothered with the Alps.” Whether the world-wide recognition is good or bad news is left for the locals to decide. One thing is clear for us, however: Georgian mountainous regions, for once, are being acknowledged as they answer well to the international standards with their beauty and quality of service.





ITC Executive Director: Redrafting the Roots of Int’l Trade for the Future then you can be dragged down by their lower performance economically, which to me goes in the direction of needing to bet a little bit more on finding new markets, finding new customers and especially investing in more value-added locally. This is the biggest investment a country like Georgia can make because then the content, the local content, the job content, the revenue content of your work will be higher than what it is today.



t last week’s 2019 Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Arancha González, the Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC), to get her take on Georgia’s present and future potential. “Georgia is a small country, but one that is extremely open to trade and investment and needing trade and investment stability,” she told us. “Right now, there is too much instability around the world and this instability is having an impact on contracting growth, contracting investment, and it is generating a lot of business uncertainty. What we need to do is bring certainty to the economy and for that there is a need to invest in multilateralism, invest in processes and institutions that apply to everybody, so that everybody has a collective insurance policy against unilateralism and against protectionism. In the meantime, for small open economies like Georgia, what's important is to make sure you don't put all your eggs in one basket, that you find a way to not only diversify your markets but also to diversify your products; diversify the sources of value addition. This is a coun-

try that needs to invest more in value addition because that's where the jobs for tomorrow would be.”

YOU MENTIONED INSTABILITY AND HOW IT REFLECTS ON GEORGIA’S TRADE. HOW MUCH DOES SOLVING THAT INSTABILITY LAY IN OUR OWN HANDS? The US and China are where the big sources of instability are today and they are not only economic, they are also geopolitical. So, of course, a small country may think that it's too small to have an impact on these two giants but a lot of small hands can have a balancing effect and this is where multilateralism matters: Georgia on its own, neighbor Armenia on its own, Turkey on its own and the list goes on: each of them on their own is too small but all of them together can be a balancing force, can be a force for good to ensure that China and the US come back to the negotiating table.


ence of history and obviously the experience of history is a mix of the two. You don't choose your neighbors, and in my view it makes sense to invest in making for a good neighborhood because I don't see many countries thriving in bad neighborhoods. To the extent that you can improve relations with your neighbors, I think it makes sense because it's not just trade, it is human context: tourism is part of this connectivity, and all of this requires stability in the neighborhood. As such, investing in the economic stability of your neighborhood is by definition good. Now, you also have that experience of history, so it is understandable that you do not want to put all your eggs in one basket, that you want to have good relations with your neighbors and improve your relations with them. The neighborhood Georgia is in is particularly complicated, and we all know you also need to hedge your bets. I don't think it’s wrong to try to stabilize your relationship with Russia, including on the trade and economic front, but as you do that I think it would be smart to try and make sure you've got buffers which can help you if things don't go well in any area- to not just look at this in terms of political stability but also in terms of economic stability. Other countries have learned that if you connect with one country and that country does not do well economically,

WHEN YOU READ THE GEORGIA BRIEF ON THE ITC WEBSITE, IT DOESN'T EXACTLY FILL YOU WITH CONFIDENCE ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S PROSPECTS. WHAT DO YOU THINK GEORGIA'S TRADE POTENTIAL IS AND HOW MUCH OF THIS POTENTIAL IS REALIZED CURRENTLY? The potential is very big: you've got some things playing for you: you've got quite a good Ease of Doing Business, that's good if you want to exploit your potential; you have quite an open trade and investment regime; you've got quite good interoperability and interconnectivity. What you have not got playing very well for you is skills and technology, and these two are ingredients for value-added for the future. What you have to do is make sure you stabilize your medium to long term investments and it's not just investment in infrastructure but also investments in people, and that will not bear fruit in the next electoral cycle, it will bear fruit maybe in the next three election cycles, but this is what will matter for the future. I don't call this industrialization because I don't believe in industrialization, I believe in value-added. For example, Georgia is incredibly involved in agriculture. Agriculture is a huge source of value-added, you only need ask New Zealand, a country that has basically been built on revolution in its agricultural sector. But this means more technology in the agricultural sector, greater value-added, not exporting commodity, which is why we're working with Georgia. The work that ITC is doing in Georgia is helping Geor-

gian agricultural producers to create higher value-added products; so not just exporting fruits but exporting juices too, and not just exporting juices, because there are many people exporting juices, but exporting types of juices that no-one else exports. We've been working with a dried fruit producer here that has now been approved as a supplier to Nestle; so that to me is value-added, which means skills and technology: the two things that the country has to invest in to get more funds back. There is another segment: revolution in agriculture. Agriculture is no longer a farmer with a plow: agriculture is technological agriculture, with irrigation techniques, with seeds, with packaging, with transformation processes that are state of the art. A second sector which can leverage much more in Georgia is the tourism sector. Tourism is another form of trade. We don't call it trade but you are exporting value-added and, again, where you position yourself, whether you position yourself in a market of low value-added tourism services, whether your position yourself in a higher value-added, with people coming here not just to backpack around the country but maybe to have a culinary experience or try mountain trekking, it also requires more investment in skills and also requires more investment in technology.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU PERSONALLY BEEN WORKING WITH GEORGIA? I was Chief of Staff of the World Trade Organization Director-General, so quite a while.

HAVE YOU SEEN SUCH A LONG TERM VISION IN GEORGIA AS THERE IS TODAY? I've seen it more recently than I did in the past. I think Georgia is investing more in the long term, including the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum: it’s not a short term investment, it’s long-term because what you are doing is redrafting the roots of international trade for the future.





September 2019 Monthly Tourism Update


uring the first three quarters of 2019, compared to the same period of the p r e v i o u s y e a r, t h e monthly hotel prices in Georgia saw an overall decrease of 0.3%. The main contributor to this decrease were the 3*, 4* and 5* hotels. During the Qs I-III 2019, compared to Qs I-III 2018, 3*, 4* and 5* hotel prices declined on average by 1.9%, while in the same period, the average increase of guesthouse prices amounted to 4.9%. During the first three quarters of 2019, compared to the corresponding period of 2018, on average the hotel prices in Tbilisi decreased by 7.8%. Among them, the prices of 3*, 4* and 5* hotels decreased on average by 11.1%, while the prices of guesthouses increased on average by 4.8%. During the first three quarters of 2019, compared to the same period of 2018, the number of tourists in Georgia was up, the on average monthly growth rate of the number of tourists amounting to 6.6%. The highest increase was recorded in May 2019, compared to May 2018 - 18%. During Qs I-III 2019, May 2019 was the period when the prices of guesthouses increased the most - by 18%, compared to May 2018.

Therefore, with the rise of tourist numbers, the prices of 3*, 4* and 5* hotels decreased, while prices of guesthouses increased. This can partially be explained by the growth in the number of hotels: the number of registered 3*, 4*, 5* hotels on booking. com website is 60% higher compared to what it was at the beginning of 2018, while during this period, the number of guesthouses only increased by 3.1%.

HOTEL PRICE INDEX In September 2019, in Georgia, the hotel price index1 decreased by 3.5% compared to August 2019. The 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotel price index decreased by 3.8%, while for guesthouses, the price index decreased by 4.4%. In September 2019, compared to Sep-

tember 2018, hotel prices in Georgia increased by 0.5%. The prices of 3*, 4*, 5* hotels decreased by 1.6%, while the prices of guesthouses increased by 4.9%.

AVERAGE HOTEL PRICES In Georgia, the average cost of a room2 in a 3-star hotel was 145 GEL per night in September 2019. While the average cost of a room in a 4-star hotel in Georgia was 227 GEL per night and the average cost of a room in a guesthouse3 was 73 GEL per night. The average cost of a room in a 5-star hotel in Georgia in September 2019 was 477 GEL per night. In Tbilisi, the average price was 598 GEL, followed by Ajara (440 GEL), Kakheti (390 GEL) and Samstkhe-Javakheti (380 GEL).





High-speed Train Appointed to Baku-Tbilisi Line

The modern European-style train of French company Alstom has a speed of up to 160 km/h. The train ticket price starts from 23 Azerbaijani Manat, which equals 40 Georgian GEL. Tickets can be purchased both at the railway station Tbilisi Central and online. The cooperation agreement between the Azerbaijani Railways (CJSC) and the French company Alstom Transport S.A. was signed on May 12, 2014. According to the document, Azerbaijan should purchase 50 locomotives of Alstom from the French side.



high-speed train has been appointed to the BakuTbilisi line. The Azerbaijani media reports that the transportation of passengers of the Baku-TbilisiBaku line will be carried out with the Prima M4 train seven times a week. The high-speed train covers the distance between the capitals of neighboring countries in 12 hours and 15 minutes.

US Special Forces Operation Kills ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi



n 27 October, US Special Forces conducted an operation in North-Western Syria and announced that the notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. "Last night, the United States brought the world's No. 1 terrorist leader to justice," declared Trump this morning from the White House. "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead," Trump said, calling the ISIS leader's removal

"the top national security priority of my administration.” The liquidation of Baghdadi marks the culmination of a year-long search to find one of the most wanted terrorists in the world and the man who declared a supposed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria in 2014. "He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place," Trump said, adding that the ISIS leader "spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him." Trump additionally described Baghdadi’s death in detail as a man "crying, whimpering, screaming, and bring-



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Sesili Tikaradze



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

ing three kids with him. To die. Certain death." "Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world," concluded Trump. The international community also responded to the events. While the Russians questioned the authenticity of the body mutilated by the blast, the Americans confirmed with the DNA sample that it was indeed al-Baghdadi. The Iranian government also reacted to the operation, the government's press speaker saying, “The death of al-Baghdadi won’t end ISIS and its ideology, which was created and advanced by the regional oil dollars.”

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Beka Alexishvili, Tea Mariamidze, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze, Ketevan Kvaratskheliya Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

Conti International Returns as ADC Shareholder BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI


mericanContiInternational has returned as a part of the ‘Anaklia Development Consortium’ board. “Because of excessive interest from the public, Anaklia Consortium is unveiling the information

Website Manager/Editor: Katie Ruth Davies Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

that Conti International changed its decision to exit the consortium and will be staying on as a shareholder of the deepwater port,” reports the Consortium. According to the Consortium’s General Director Levan Akhvlediani, Conti Intl will again have 42% of shares. On 15 August, it became known to the public that Conti International would be leaving the Consortium.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1198 Business  

October 29 - November 1, 2019

Issue #1198 Business  

October 29 - November 1, 2019