The Minister of economic development of Georgia Natia Turnava appreciates joint project of the American tour operator “MIR Corporation” and “National Geographic” involving in Georgia of tourists from English-speaking countries, to minimize losses of the tourism sector from the decision of the authorities of the Russian Federation on the limitation of travel to Republic of Russian tourists.

“For us it is very important, especially these days when tourism in Georgia faced a serious challenge. On this basis, it is important that from countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand and others, where the influx of tourists can be large, and there is great potential, under the auspices of “National Geographic” will be coming, and we will be glad,” – said N. Turnava on Monday after a meeting in Tbilisi with a major American tour operators.

At the meeting of the American tour operator “MIR Corporation”, which has been working in Georgia and is engaged in the attraction of tourists from USA, Canada, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries, announced that it was beginning a joint project with National Geographic for the preparation of tours for travelers to Georgia, which will be offered special travel services.

“We fully support this project and believe that such projects will increase awareness of Georgia as a country with unique nature, culture, wine and, more importantly, as a safe tourist destination,” he said.Turnava.

For his part, the President and co-founder of “MIR Corporation” Douglas Grimes told reporters that the company plans to expand its business in Georgia. “On the National Geographic are launching a travel program, which will be key us market. We will work to attract to Georgia tourists who are interested to get acquainted with its cultural life,” said D. Grimes.

Earlier it was reported that the decision of the authorities of the Russian Federation on the termination of direct flights with Georgia, and the reduction in the inflow of Russian tourists, as well as possible losses in the direction of export of Georgian products in Russia could lead to losses for the Georgian economy about $1 billion before the end of the year, which could slow real GDP growth by more than 2%.

Problems in tourism sector of Georgia occurred after 20 June in Tbilisi riots caused by the arrival in Georgia of a delegation of Russian deputies to participate in inter-parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy (IAO). It was headed by the Deputy of the state Duma of the Russian Federation Sergey Gavrilov. The meeting was held in the Parliament building of Georgia, and Gavrilov took put at rules of the place of the speaker, which caused indignation of the Georgian opposition.

Protesters with anti-Russian slogans tried to storm the Parliament building, but were driven back by the forces of law and order. The riot police used against the protesters acoustic cannons, tear gas and water cannons, and rubber bullets. According to Ministry of health of Georgia, killed 240 people, including 80 police and the interior Ministry announced about 305 detainees during protests.

On 21 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree temporarily prohibiting from 8 July Russian airlines to transport the Russians from the territory of the Russian Federation on the territory of Georgia. The tour operators and travel agents are recommended to refrain from sales of the tourist product involving the transportation of citizens in Georgia.

According to the National tourism administration of Georgia, in January-may of 2019 visited the Republic 539,4 thousand Russian citizens, which is 14% more than in the same period of 2018. Every fifth tourist in Georgia was from Russia. It was expected that before the end of the year, about one million Russian tourists will visit Georgia.