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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
12

Playing Against the Odds: What’s at Stake for Georgia as It Bets on the Tourism Revival Strategy?

Georgia reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by immediately introducing aggressive measures. Closing international borders, declaring a state of emergency, shutting down public transportation, banning local travel and public gatherings, closing restaurants and shopping malls, and introducing a nighttime curfew—these are all instruments that were used by the country’s government and health authorities to stop the spread of the virus. As a result, the health system was not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As of June 12th Georgia has had 837 confirmed corona...
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Mar
27

Regional Impacts of COVID-19 Shock to HORECA Sector

The outbreak of the virus and the corresponding containment measures have started to severely affect the global economy. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its Interim Economic Outlook Report (2020) on March 2nd downgraded 2020 real GDP growth projections for almost every country. The largest reduction in growth projections is seen for China (-0.8 percentage points) with worldwide real GDP growth rate expected to decline from 2.9% (November 2019 forecast) to 2.4%. In their report on March 6th, Asian Development Bank (AD...
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Mar
06

Is Climate Change Threatening Winter Tourism in Georgia? – Part 2 – Adaptation Measures

Georgian winter resorts have finally started their long-awaited season in February 2020, after a month and a half of poor snow. In our previous blog we discussed the possible climate change development scenarios over the rest of the century, and revealed the need for better understanding and implementation of adaptation measures. However, more still needs to be said about the expected effects of climate change on the economic viability of resorts and their possible adaptation strategies. Figure 1 shows that, over the last 13 years, the average depth of s...
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Feb
07

Is Climate Change Threatening Georgian Winter Tourism? – Part 1

This year the winter season started later than usual in nearly all Georgian ski resorts (except Goderdzi) due to a lack of snow. Given the heated international discussions on climate change and global warming in recent years, the lack of snow in Georgian ski resorts has raised questions concerning the future economic viability of winter tourism in the country. This is hardly an unexpected development as even the World Tourism Organization recognizes that mountain tourism is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (UNWTO, 2015). Unforeseen ...
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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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