ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Mar
22

One Small Step for a Man, Big Data for Mankind: Uses of Alternative Data Sources in Tourism Development

There are many mesmerizing buildings in Tbilisi, but do you know which one tourists favor the most? Or have you ever wondered what travelers’ favorite Georgian food or wine is? Thanks to modern tools and data-gathering methods, we now have actual proof that khachapuri is tourists’ all-time favorite Georgian dish. In 2018, the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), along with Communication Agency Windfor’s, launched a campaign called  “Emotions are Georgia” to determine what foreign tourists admire the most in our beautiful country and whic...
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Dec
04

Your Guest Is My Guest, or Why Tourism Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

The South Caucasus is divided by high mountain ranges, often impassable political borders, and ethnic conflict zones. In addition to three independent states, the region also includes three unrecognized territories. Nakhichevan is separated from Azerbaijan’s mainland by Armenia’s Syunik region. Armenia’s border with Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is sealed for political reasons. Though trampled by politics, the economic arguments for greater regional integration in the South Caucasus are truly powerful. For one thing, thanks to its strategic l...
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Jun
12

Wanna Get Rich? Make Batumi Your “Second Home”!

With 6.3 million tourists visiting the country in 2016, Georgia has become a popular tourist destination. In May, the number of international visitors (those who stayed in the country 24 hours or more) increased annually by 19% (compared to the same month in the previous year). While Tbilisi Airport is the main border-crossing point, in May, Batumi Airport overshot Kutaisi Airport, famous for its low costs flights, and experienced a 20% annual increase in the number of arrivals. The concert of legendary musical band “Aerosmith,” which took place near Bat...
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Jun
10

Is Less More When Hosting International Events in Your Home Country?

In just a couple of weeks Baku is going to host the second Formula One Grand Prix in its history. Being in love with motor races and inspired by the fact that for the first time in my life I will attend such an important race (and the Land of Fire); I tried to explore the economic impact of hosting expensive international events for one’s country. In 2017, the Formula One Championship will take place in 20 countries. Nineteen of these countries are either in the top 15 by the level of GDP, or are (net) oil and gas exporters. The only exception here is Hu...
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Dec
13

Is Georgia Heading towards an Oversupply of Hotels?

Citizens of Georgia’s capital recently witnessed the luxurious Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi grand opening. A $140 million investment by the Dhabi Group supplied the market with 214 luxury rooms and suits.  The $2 million opening, huge building and central location (right on Rustaveli Avenue) made the appearance of this hotel on the market very noticeable.  However, with much less lavish ceremonies, in total 37 hotels were opened in Georgia just this year, as reported by the Georgian National Tourism Agency (GNTA), which amounts to an additional 1,472...
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Oct
17

Khachapuri Index, Exchange Rate Dynamics and International Tourism

One glance at the ₾Khachapuri Index chart (for locals) tells the whole story of Georgian agriculture. Left to fend for themselves during the cold winter months, Georgian cows produce very little milk, sending dairy prices through the roof. Conversely, milk production peaks with the arrival of sunny weather and green fodders in early spring, leading to a collapse of milk prices. In the absence of large-scale industrial milk production (that does not depend as much on climate and weather conditions), the roller coaster image repeats itself, year in and yea...
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