DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM IN GEORGIA - REALITY AND CHALLENGES IN THE MODERN PERIOD
Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries among tourist countries. Georgia is not distinguished by energy resources, oil, natural gas and other natural wealth, but it is one of the unique tourist countries in the world for visitors, and a kind of new discovery, with its great tourist potential and diversity, always arouses the desire to visit the country again and again. The development of sustainable tourism and the presentation of Georgia as a unique tourist country in the international tourist market are directly proportional to the development of the country's economy.
The development of tourism and territorial expansion is a solid basis for the development of the economic environment of Georgia. The tourism sector of Georgia has the greatest potential to contribute to the development of the economy of Georgia and the formation of financial income for the country. But, a few months ago, hardly anyone could have imagined that almost out of nowhere, a huge problem would appear, which would almost completely change the existing reality on earth from the economic, political, and social point of view.
Today's reality is that both the whole world and Georgia are fighting the spread of the covid infection and the catastrophic consequences caused by it. With a complete economic recession and economic collapse, which primarily affects the tourism sector and all economic entities involved in it.
The main goal of the paper is to study and analyze the growing opportunities for tourism development in Georgia and to analyze the catastrophic consequences caused and inflicted by the recently revealed invisible enemy, the Covid pandemic, and to outline further perspectives. The statistical data of tourism growth and financial income in Georgia, the perspective of tourism development in Georgia and the relevance and impact of the covid pandemic, which may cause irreparable damage, or at best with the possible prospect of returning to the status quo for years, to the viability of tourism, are analyzed. Also, the possibility of economic development vital for the development of the country
Keywords: tourism in Georgia; tourist potential; covid pandemic; Tourism and economy.