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Russia wants to resume direct flights to Georgia

Russia can restore direct air connections with Georgia – in this case, the flow of tourists to this Caucasian country can increase by 30%. However, as “Kommersant” states, so far the Russian authorities only “make it clear that they can decide on the resumption of flights”, and in Tbilisi, “they are not sure that now is the right time for such steps”, because Western sanctions are possible.

The statement of the director of the fourth department of the CIS countries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Denys Honchar, is the basis for the assumption of the resumption of flights. He stated that “the government of Georgia follows a pragmatic line”, which “gives a positive effect” and “trade and economic statistics speak for themselves”. The second issue is that about 113,000 resettlement workers contributed to the “positive balance”, thanks to which, as “Ъ” assures, “the revitalization of the real estate market, the rapid growth of remittances from the Russian Federation, the opening of thousands of new companies, in particular, in the field of IT and creation of tens of thousands of jobs”. Moreover, as a matter of fact, “hundreds of thousands of tourists” who travel either in their cars or with transfers via Yerevan, Minsk and Istanbul have also reached Georgia.

However, as the vice president of the Russian Union of the Tourism Industry Dmytro Horin said, “the classic tourist flow to Georgia is preserved” even in the long-term absence of direct air connections. But the emergence of flights, as the expert assures, will lead to an increase in the number of such trips by 30%, and will also make Tbilisi and Kutaisi “big transport hubs when planning trips abroad.”

“The government of Georgia is also sure: if direct flights were made between the two neighboring countries, the income from travelers from the Russian Federation would be much higher,” writes Kommersant, and again recalls, as the publication puts it, the Russian diplomat’s “hint” that provided ” formation of the necessary prerequisites” Moscow will decide to restore direct air traffic and even cancel the visa regime for citizens of Georgia.

“Previously, the special representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia on matters of relations with the Russian Federation, Zurab Abashidze, repeatedly told Kommersant that Georgia was not the initiator of the suspension of direct flights, as well as the introduction of the visa regime for Georgian citizens, therefore, “the Russian party should decide on both issues”. At the same time, on December 10, Mr. Abashidze suddenly declared: “As for the resumption of direct flights, this issue is not on our agenda now,” the publication adds. There is every chance that “the resumption of flights will become an unnecessary headache for Georgia” and even that “Georgia will be obliged to confiscate the planes,” adds the Russian mass media.

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