The temporary ban for direct air communication between Russia and Georgia had a tangible effect over the republic’s Black Sea resorts, where 80% of hotel bookings were already cancelled by Russians, founder and head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation Shalva Alaverdashvili told TASS on Monday.
"Sea resorts received the hardest blow: the share of cancelled bookings by Russian tourists reached 80%, the Adjara tourism administration reported. It should be noted that the situation is unfavorable in the rest of Georgia as well. We may say that in total Russians canceled up to 60% of hotel bookings across the country," Alaverdashvili said. Mostly premium-class Russian tourists did not abolish their trips to Georgia, he specified.
According to the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the probable loss for the country’s economy from reducing the tourism flow from Russia will stand at about $710 million.
On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued the order that Russian air companies are temporarily banned from carrying out air flights (including commercial ones) from the territory of the Russian Federation to Georgia. This order came into force on July 8. On the same day the decision of the Russian Transport Ministry as of June 22 about the suspension of Georgian air companies’ flights to Russia also came into force.
The Russian authorities’ decision came after massive protests near the parliament’s building in Tbilisi on June 20. They were sparked by a session of the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy which was held in the Georgian parliament.
According to the approved protocol, State Duma member and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Sergei Gavrilov, who headed the Russian delegation, occupied the speaker’s seat. The opposition, that was dissatisfied with this fact, derailed the event and took people to streets for a protest rally with anti-Russian slogans, which ended with an attempt to storm the parliament’s building.