In July 2018, Georgian National Tourism Administration released an International Visitor Survey for the period of January-March 2018. The data was provided by National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat).
According to the survey, the sphere of the main interest of the report includes trips for holiday, business, visiting friends and relatives (VFR) purposes, expenditure during the trip and other reasons. The International Visitor Survey provides:
- Total expenditure by international visitors;
- Structure of expenditures;
- Average expenditure by neighboring countries per visit with the Russians having the highest average expenditure.
According to Geostat, residents of the Central and Eastern European countries had the highest average expenditure at GEL 2 461 per visitor in the first quarter of 2018. The Georgian-language version of the survey posted on the website of Georgian National Tourism Administration does not mention this figure and provides only the data on residents from neighboring countries, where Russia takes the lead. Unlike the Georgian-language version, the English-language version reads that visitors from “Other Countries” had the highest spending pattern and spent on average GEL 2 118 GEL that is a mistake. On July 8, Imedinews released a manipulative story about the survey promoting incorrect perceptions about Russian citizens allegedly spending more money in Georgia than other visitors.
The survey also provides the table of average expenditures by countries and regions, where Central and Eastern Europe accounts for the highest share with GEL 2 461 per visitor. Russia is ranked 4th in the table; however, the Georgian-language version released by the National Tourism Administration provides only average expenditures by neighboring countries with Russia having the highest average expenditure at GEL 1 338 per visitor.
Besides the Georgian-language version, Georgian National Tourism Administration also posted on its website the English-language version of the survey, where the part of average expenditures by international visitors differs from the Georgian version. In particular, according to the English-language version, visitors from “Other Countries” had the highest spending pattern and spent on average GEL 2 118, followed by residents from “Other Europe” with GEL 1 529. However, according to the table provided below, not “Other Countries”, but “Central and Eastern Europe” had the highest average expenditure at GEL 2 461 – that is not written in the text of either versions of the survey.
On July 8, Imedinews news agency of Imedi TV released a manipulative story with misleading title “A citizen of which country spends more money in Georgia.” Like the National Tourism Administration, the story provided only the average expenditures by citizens from neighboring countries with the Russians taking the lead. The entire story and its title promoted incorrect perceptions about Russian citizens allegedly spending more money in Georgia than other visitors.