ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
17

Touristic Destination or Trade Corridor?

Georgia’s competitiveness is said to hinge on its strategic location between East and West. The latest data on border crossings (by people and trucks) allow to shed light on progress to date and take a glimpse into the future. The efforts to develop Georgia as a major touristic destination in recent years seem to have paid off. The number of international arrivals to Georgia has been growing rapidly, reaching 2,822,363 in 2011. In the first 11 months of 2012, the number of visitors exceeded 4mln, which is 58% more than in the same period of 2011. Interna...
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Jul
25

From “failed state” to role model – what Greece can learn from Georgia

In the 1990's, my brother traveled in Georgia with a friend. They were cruising around with an old van, looking for archaeological sites and other cultural heritage. Every 10 kilometers they were stopped by police who politely asked for baksheesh. My brother’s friend hated corruption, and, more significantly, had severe difficulties controlling his temper. After this pathetic annoyance was constantly going on for days, he became angry and shouted at the policemen: “Your country is the most rotten place on earth. I will never come back to Georgia and I wi...
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Recent Comments
Guest — nikos avgeris
The issue of corruption is indeed a very important one and at the centre of the debate lately. However i find myself rather disagr... Read More
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 1:01 PM
Guest — Florian
I am not a greek-hater. I were in Greece probably around 20 times ... I know Rhodes like my home town, I was hiking two weeks in I... Read More
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 7:07 PM
Guest — Eric
I very much like the post, even though the comparison to Greece is not terribly scientific. Something tells me that if Florian's b... Read More
Thursday, 26 July 2012 3:03 PM
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Jun
26

Georgian decency as a competitive advantage I: The facts

Members of the same nation have the same “cultural background”, which means that they share a good deal of political and social values and ideals, and they tend to believe in the same recipes to solve their problems. Such fundamental attitudes are often shaped by the historical experiences of a nation. For example, England had a kind of merchant democracy since the 14th century, when the House of Commons was founded. In the former Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, merchants had no institutionalized possibility to influence politics. Bribery and utilizin...
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Guest — Sanjit Dhami
Excellent post Florian! You are right in thinking about culture and its possible link to economic variables. I too admire the tra... Read More
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric
A great post, Florian! Every time I take a taxi in Tbilisi I run the experiment that you describe: I stop a cab and get in without... Read More
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:12 PM
Guest — Florian
We do not know what was the taxi drivers' conducts in Georgia 10 years ago. It could be that it was worse than today, but perhaps ... Read More
Thursday, 28 June 2012 6:06 AM
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Mar
21

The Price of a Room

A recent NBER working paper by Diego Comin caught my attention. The paper explores the tourism industry in Tanzania and tries to answer a few questions. The results should be taken with a grain of salt, as the methodology appears to be less watertight than in your usual NBER working paper. The sample is rather small, the data is largely self-reported, the conclusions seem rather heroic, and the paper does not appear to be embedded in a literature. Nevertheless it is highly relevant for Georgia and her tourism industry. The paper finds that room pric...
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Guest — David Narong
The room looks really outstanding. I guess that Sheraton Batumi is pretty good choice.
Sunday, 22 April 2012 5:05 PM
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Jan
17

Save Gudiashvili Square

One thing few visitors to Tbilisi fail to notice is the rich and layered architectural heritage of the city. There are medieval churches in Old Tbilisi. There are art noveau buildings in Sololaki. There is Stalinist architecture in Vake. And there are modernist experiments such as the Wedding Palace or the former Transportation Ministry Building. But at the same time this rich architectural heritage is threatened – either left to decay or destroyed or overwhelmed by new building developments. One worrying development is the proposed reconstruction of Gud...
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Guest — Eric
The lack of a proper urban zoning policy in Tbilisi is a crime against the Georgian people, including many generations to come. Th... Read More
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 12:12 AM
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Nov
19

5 Million Tourists in Georgia by 2015 - a Myth or Nightmarish Reality?

Judging by the number of foreigners entering Georgia since 2004, tourism expanded at a breathtaking average pace of 32% a year, nearly doubling every three years. A simple extrapolation suggests that in four more years, by 2015, Georgia may be receiving more than 5mln tourists per year. Is this a realistic estimate? Would it be a blessing or a curse (in disguise)?   The growth in the number of visitors far outstripped the pace of investment in the tourism infrastructure, driving prices up and negatively affecting the quality of services. Thus, the ...
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Recent Comments
Guest — moonshine
Bravo stardust! Some parts of Georgia have been for centuries defined by their remoteness and isolation. Svaneti, for example, was... Read More
Saturday, 19 November 2011 11:11 PM
Guest — stardust
I agree that a growing tourism industry can be a mixed blessing for a country. Along with the pitfalls outlined in the blog, the d... Read More
Saturday, 19 November 2011 7:07 PM
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2010
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