On November 16, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba had a meeting with Minister of Resorts and Tourism Avtandil Gartskia.
Avtandil Gartskia reported on the main directions of the Ministry’s work:
“Today we can already speak about the preliminary results for 2018. This is the data for November 1, since tourists will be coming to our country until the end of this year. About one million tourists visited our country. This number is not specific because it is difficult to count those people that come in their own cars for one day. It is also difficult to account for the private sector since it consists not of individual entrepreneurs but of people who rent out their rooms to earn. The total number of tourists consists of around 550 thousand people who came to our country for their holiday and around 450 thousand people who came with a one-day visit.
In the period from 2007 to this day, around 300 hotels of different types were built in Abkhazia – big, medium-sized and small. We can state that there are 426 accommodation facilities in total in our country, and there are 25310 places in them. It is enough for our small country. Yet, speaking of competition, in the Sochi Olympic Park, there is the same number of places and around 45 thousand on the Krasnaya Polyana.
We should develop other types of tourism which would be more profitable. They existed in the Soviet period, but unfortunately, we lost them during and after the war. For example, “Amra Park-Hotel” provides highly profitable types of services. This type of tourism gives 5-6 times more profit than others. The least profitable types of tourism that we have are mostly beach tourism and sightseeing. We should move to the next level of quality and develop recreational spa tourism. The role of the state in this is important. Of course, even the most powerful state cannot directly invest in health resorts. Yet, we should be preparing the infrastructure and work with private businessmen who know what to do in this field”.
The Head of State outlined the priority tasks for the future work of the Ministry:
“Our task is to improve the quality of services that we provide. For now, this issue is still quite urgent, and we should pay attention to it.
We should provide our guests with our food. We have discussed many times in the past that our food, our vegetables are not inferior to the imported products. We should integrate agriculture and tourism, and create mutual opportunities for them.
Speaking of accommodation facilities that grew in number, we should pay attention to the registration of these enterprises in terms of taxes. You should be working closely with the tax authorities.
With regards to health resort tourism, we were famous in that field in the Soviet period. Today we almost do not have this type of tourism. Without this type of tourism, it is difficult to speak of a year-round holiday season.
What you said about the “Amra” health resort is good. It is a beginning. Yet, we should make sure that other accommodation facilities in Abkhazia are also involved in this field. This issue is connected to investments and certain financial expenses. Yet, I can remind you that in the past, the state allocated funds for the development of balneological resorts and hydrotherapy. We should examine how effectively these funds have been used. The state should offer help, but the Ministry should also be effective in this field.
Once again, we should discuss the subject of the state border with the Russian Federation. It is necessary to create comfortable conditions on the border. You should not lose this from view”.