Low-cost carrier Ryanair gives a boost to Georgia’s tourism
Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC), is focusing on the Caucasus region, with new flights to Georgia and is also considering Armenia.
The Irish LCC has announced its first ever flights to Georgia, with a route from Milan Bergamo airport to Tbilisi (four times a week) and two new routes from Bologna and Marseille to Kutaisi (both twice a week), which start in November in the winter 2019 schedule. Ryanair will also connect Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to Cologne (twice a week) in April as part of Ryanair’s Summer 2020 schedule and expects to deliver 170,000 customers annually to/from these Georgian airports.
The arrival of Ryanair is very welcome news for Georgia’s tourism industry which suffered a major set-back earlier this year when, from July 8 onwards, Russia suspended all direct air links with Georgia following social unrest in Tbilisi. This decision shut down one of the liveliest leisure travel markets in the midst of the peak vacation season. The Caucasus country had been expecting to welcome 1.7 million Russian tourists this year, contributing more than US$890 million to the local economy. Last year more than 1.4 million Russians visited Georgia, a figure that represents some 20 per cent of the total international tourism traffic into the country.
Ryanair’s David O’Brien commented: “We’re pleased to announce Ryanair’s low fares have arrived at Tbilisi and Kutaisi, our newest and first airports in Georgia. These four new routes that will start in November (except Cologne, starting in April next year) will further promote Georgian tourism and will deliver more than 170,000 customers annually to/from two European countries to one of Europe’s fastest-growing tourism destinations. We look forward to developing new Georgian traffic growth, new routes and jobs in the coming years.”
Ryanair has also set its sights on neighbouring Armenia. Following the Armenian aviation authority’s meeting with Ryanair in Dublin in March to discuss the possibilities of the Irish budget carrier launching flights to the country as early as in 2020, Armenian senior government representatives have now met with Ryanair’s top management, promising support for the carrier’s commencement of services to the country.
In the meantime, Ryanair has already started conquering other post-Soviet territories, flying to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – and is now very active in Ukraine.
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