Visits to Georgia by foreign citizens in the first quarter of 2012 increased by 39.4% year-to-year, reaching 677,278, according to official figures released on April 2 by the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of border management.
Number of visits by foreign citizens to Georgia stood at 2.8 million in 2011 up by 39% over the previous year, according to these figures.
In January-March, 2012 Turkish citizens made up the largest share in total visits (14.7%), followed by Azerbaijani (10.7%), Armenian (6.8%) and Russian (2.6%) citizens.
In late February Georgia unilaterally lifted visa rules for the Russian citizens. According to Georgian Interior Ministry the move was reflected in increase of number of visits made by the Russian citizens to Georgia in March. According to these figures 6,192 visits were made by the Russian citizens to Georgia in March 2012 against only 2,163 in March 2011.
Visits from Iran, whose citizens also do not require Georgian visa since last January, almost doubled in the first quarter of 2012 to over 9,000.
There was a 15.1% y/y increase in number of visits made to Georgia by citizens from EU-member states in January-March 2012 reaching 8,343, followed by Ukrainian citizens with 4,358, a 11.7% y/y increase.