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Georgia keen to strengthen relationship with Saudi Arabia

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Author: FOUZIA KHANSun, 2017-03-26ID: 1490476529094212600RIYADH: George Janjgava, the Georgian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that his government is eager to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. The diplomatic relations between Georgia and the Kingdom were first established in 1994 and the Georgian Embassy opened two years ago. Since then economic relations have dramatically increased, with bilateral trade increasing by 360 percent. Janjgava said foreign direct investments from the Kingdom exceeded $100 million, mainly in real estate, hospitality and agriculture. There has also been an increase in tourism, with 30,000 tourists from Saudi Arabia visiting Georgia in 2016, a 116 percent increase over the previous year. More than 60,000 tourists visited Georgia from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2016, a 65 percent increase compared to the previous year.Citizens of GCC states can travel to Georgia without a visa and stay for a year. Residents of Saudi Arabia from African and Asian countries can also visit Georgia with their Saudi iqama permit and stay in the country for 90 days.The recent visit of GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani to Georgia and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the mechanisms of consultation, shows the strong economic ties with GCC countries. The gross domestic product of Georgia has increased over the last five years, with a average annual growth rate of around 5 percent.As of June 22, Gulf Air will operate three weekly flights from Bahrain to Georgia. More than 30 airlines fly to Georgia from Europe, Asia and Africa. From the Gulf region, tourists mainly come to Georgia with Qatar Airways from Doha, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, Flydubai from Dubai and Air Arabia from Sharjah.“It is in our interests to facilitate opening of direct flights from Saudi Arabia to Georgia,” the ambassador said. “Thus, the embassy is working on acquiring flight permission for Georgian Airways to operate direct charter flights from Tbilisi and Batumi to Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah during this touristic summer season. Last year during the summer, Georgian Airways operated direct charter flights from Dammam to Tbilisi.”
Main category: Saudi Arabia

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