Georgia is the most favoured holiday destination this Eid. The visa norms for UAE residents have been eased.
With the Eid-al-Adha festival round the corner, it is that time of the year again when holiday planning is in full swing for the UAE residents. Stepping aside from the norm of family holidays across the Emirates, Malaysia and Singapore among other destinations; Georgia, nestled at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is quickly becoming one of hottest new holiday destinations this season.
A 300% growth in travel searches for Georgia has been witnessed since the last year, according to Google trends. This number was negligible until the last few years. Latest stats from the Georgian National Tourism Administration reveal that Georgia received 852,377 visitors in August 2015 – a 10 percent increase on the same period in 2014.
The number of guests who visited Georgia between January-August 2015 was also higher than previous years. In the first eight months of 2015, a 6 per cent increase was seen in the number of visitors to Georgia (more than 3.9 million visitors.) The country has also recorded a 36 percent increase in visitors from Kazakhstan while 54 percent more guests came from Belarus and 35 percent more came from Moldova.
Visa on arrival, a short flight duration and a unique mix of the European and Asian cultures, is making Georgia a favoured destination for the Middle East residents. Travellers with valid UAE residency visa or UAE citizenship can get Visa on Arrival to Georgia.
Digvijay Pratap, co-founder of HolidayMe.com, a Middle East based online travel website says, “We are receiving a large number of queries for Georgia holiday packages. In fact, since it’s just a 3.5 hour flight duration from UAE, a lot of people are also booking weekend packages to Georgia for the upcoming Eid Al Adha holidays.”
Air Arabia, Etihad Airways as well as Fly Dubai have regular direct services to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.
Georgia may still be a hitherto unknown tourism destination untouched by mass tourism, hence visiting it now is most recommended. Surrounded by the Black Sea on the west, Caucasus Mountains in the north, and deserts to the south, this multi-ethnic country offers an amalgamation of Turkish, Persian and Greek cultures. Apart from Tbilisi, the capital and most cosmopolitan city of Georgia; Kutaisa, Adzharia, Borzhomi (famous for mineral waters) and Bakuraini (mountain skiing resort) are also popular among tourists.