Visiting a European country has all along been a dream for a large number of Qatar’s expatriates and the visa on arrival facility for Gulf residents in Georgia has made their dream come true. The erstwhile Soviet Republic has become one of the most favourite destinations for a number of people in the country.
While Georgia had received a large number of travellers from the UAE and Oman in the last few years, there had been only a handful of visitors from Qatar until the end of last year.
Sources in Doha’s travel industry said that the demand for Georgia packages has been growing ever since the beginning of the summer vacation from those who prefer short visits, ranging between four and six days. Some of them said it is likely that Georgia has attracted more Qatar residents than any other destination in the immediate vicinity of the Middle East during the current holiday season.
“Many residents have always wanted to travel to Europe but burgeoning boarding and lodging costs have prevented a number of such people from achieving their wish. However, affordable and some times tempting packages from the tour industry in Georgia have given hopes to travellers to that country,” said N Shyam, a travel professional.
Interestingly, Georgia is the first European country to be visited by many of such tourists, he said. Similar sentiments were also echoed by others in the industry.
Inquiries with some of the travel agencies have found there has been a big demand for tickets to Georgia from both the locals as well as expatriates who wanted to spend their Eid vacation there. Most of them, it is understood, have opted for packages of up to five days and bookings were made mainly in the beginning of the last month.
There has been a spectacular rise in the number of tickets issued for flights between Qatar and Georgia in the recent past, according to a Flydubai official.
He said both their daily flights from Dubai to Tbilisi have a number of passengers from Doha and interestingly most of them are part of groups comprising six or more members. The other day, there were as many as 36 passengers from Doha on a flight to Georgia.”
If the number of posts on the social media networks these days is any indication, a considerably large number of the city residents are already savouring their holidays in and around Tbilisi.
Besides affordability, the travel time of less than four hours has also contributed to the rise in the number of visitors, it is learnt. Georgia is also blessed with natural beauty and the country is also very safe. The recent incidents of violence and the turbulent situation in some of the countries of the region have also led to the rise in the number of travellers to Georgia. Some of those who had booked their tickets to Turkey have now changed their travel plans and are now planning to tour Georgia in the coming days, informed industry sources.