Georgia, a small country located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, is a former Soviet republic that is home to Caucasus Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches. It’s famous for Vardzia, a sprawling cave monastery dating to the 12th century, and the ancient wine-growing region Kakheti.
Georgia is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and northeast by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometers, and its 2015 population is about 3.75 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through representative democracy.
Georgia declared independence on 9 April 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Georgia achieved robust economic growth between 2003-2014, averaging 6.3 percent annually, following structural reforms that stimulated capital inflows and investment. The reforms helped to improve the business environment, strengthened public finances, upgraded infrastructure facilities and liberalized trade. Growth was also supported by increased foreign direct investments (FDI) and was driven by capital accumulation and sound use of excess capacity rather than by net job creation, with productivity gains concentrated mainly in the non-tradable sectors. GDP per capita increased from $919 in 2003 to $3,763 in 2014 (in current prices, 2014 -preliminary data). GDP growth rate amounted to 4.7% in 2014. According to IMF, Georgia has one of the highest forecasted GDP growth rates among Eastern European countries and its neighbors during 2014-2015. Major foreign investors in Georgia include: BP, Socar, Heidelberg Cement, RAKIA Group and MAF.
The signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union in June 2014 and the coming into effect of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in September are landmark achievements for Georgia. With greater policy certainty, there was an uptick in business and consumer confidence leading to an output expansion of 6.0 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2014, up from 3.2 percent in 2013 as a whole.
Located on the shortest route between Europe and Asia, Georgia’s transport system is a key link in the historic “Silk Road.” The Government’s commitment to rehabilitating main, secondary and local road networks has intensified in response to the global economic down-turn, as road rehabilitation will improve access to markets and services, and create short-term employment through civil works.
World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business report” ranked Georgia the 4th best economy in Europe and Central Asia, with Macedonia being the region’s highest ranking economy, followed by Lithuania and Latvia.
Globally, Georgia improved the most in the areas measured by Doing Business over the past 12 years. During this period output per capita in Georgia increased by 66% and business density more than tripled. Many factors contributed to this improvement in economic outcomes, and the effort to make it easier for local entrepreneurs to do business may have been one of them.
The capital, Tbilisi, is known for the diverse architecture and maze-like, cobblestone streets of its old town. Tbilisi is one of the largest cities in the Caucasus as well as one of the largest in Eastern Europe, with a population of 1.2 million. Tbilisi accounts for over 25% of the national population. It is the industrial, cultural and social centre of Georgia.Spread over a 490.6 square kilometre area, Tbilisi is one of the few places on the planet where a synagogue and mosque are located next to each other. Despite an overwhelmingly orthodox Christian resident population, Tbilisi generously accommodates diverse cultures, religions and ethnicities.
The city generates 52% of the country’s economic output, and accounts for most of the formal employment. Larger incomes in Tbilisi compared with the rest of Georgia, boosts spending on recreation and culture as well as restaurants and hotels.
Existing international hotel brands in Tbilisi are Sheraton, Radisson, Marriot, Courtyard Marriot and Holiday Inn, Citadines apart’ hotel as well as Best Western Tbilisi. Other major projects have been announced (Intercontinental, Hilton Garden Inn) and some of them under construction (Millennium, Rixos, Park Inn by Radisson).
The city is actively developing its tourism sector. Thanks to low taxes and a favourable climate for investors, Tbilisi is ranked among the top five European cities by the EBA (European Business Association) Attractiveness of Investment index.