Caucasus

Georgia: Virtual Parliamentary Speaker Election

Ahead of a parliamentary election in Georgia set for October 2012, David Bakradze, Chair of the current Parliament, is currently the most active member of the ruling party on Facebook. His official page, with 27,526 likes at time of writing, includes photos of visits and meetings as well as of his family. Bakradze has also launched a game called Elections where each person liking his page can run for position of virtual parliamentary chair.

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Tourism in Georgia [Statistics]

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released a detailed data about foreign visitors to Georgia. Tourists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia are leading the list and only 5% of visitors are from the EU. According to MIA, 1,793,449 foreign arrivals have been recorded in January-August, 2011 (2,031,695 people traveled to Georgia in 2010). Most of them were from Azerbaijan - 456,282, 455,611 from Turkey, 448,374 from Armenia and 176,090 from Russia.

2011* - Indicates number of tourists for the January-August period.

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Abkhazia Presidential Candidate Sergei Shamba Goes Online

Three candidates are competing this week for a presidential post in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. The Central Election Commission predicts 70% turnout on the ballot that will be held on August 26, 2011. According to BBC:

At least 130,000 people were registered to vote but, our correspondent says, an estimated 40,000 ethnic Georgians living in the region were mostly prevented from voting because they do not have Abkhaz passports.

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Tbilisi: Miniature Photography

Surfing the web I stumbled upon at these beautiful pictures of Tbilisi that make the city look like a miniature. Many photographers use a special technique of Tilt Photography that simulates a mock-up effect also called a Miniature Faking. “Miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is made to look like a photograph of a miniature scale model. Blurring parts of the photo simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered in close-up photography, making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is” – Wikipedia

Photos are from here:

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Summer in Georgia: Entertainment

Georgia – a tiny country in the Caucasus has been working a lot to position itself as one of the hot tourism destinations in the region and not only. Government has spent a lot and has attracted foreign business to develop infrastructure in its mountains, seaside and other regions. According to various sources the number of tourists increases every year and by 2015 it will reach 4-5 million (according to 2010 estimate Georgia’s population is 4.5 million). Truly, country has a lot to offer, The capital – Tbilisi is a mix of eastern and western cultures, here you may buy antiques and handmade carpets, enjoy the finest Georgian and Western cuisine, visit ancient churches and etc.

If you have not seen this ad, you might want to take a look in order to get a feeling of Georgia:

Batumi, the biggest seaside city is rapidly developing, brands like Sheraton and Radisson have already built hotels and more are coming.

Summer entertainment in Georgia is diverse.

On July 3rd, singer Sting and trumpeter Chris Botti held a concert in Batumi.

Sting and Chris Botti are not the only famous names that perform in Batumi this year. On July 24, annual Black Sea Jazz Festival will feature R&B and Soul singer – Macy Gray. Concert will be held on Batumi’s Piazza.

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Facebook in Georgia [Infographic]

Explanations:

1) There are lot of fake Georgian profiles. Because of this, percentages might be insignificantly different.

2) Many people mentioned in this infographic are represented by more than one page. Ones with highest number of fans have been selected for this statistics.

3) All images are copied from the above mentioned pages.

4) Not all the pages are official.

5) Information is gathered through various sources, like Facebook’s advertising statistics, Socialbakers, Alexa.com and many others.

6) Latest information on the internet penetration was released in 2010. Probably, the number is higher today but it is unknown.

7) The calculation of Facebook users by the end of 2011 is based on the growth of Georgian users for past 6 months and is based on the assumption that the growth will continue.

It took me 3 days, 2 cups of coffee, thorough research and 70 Photoshop layers to compile this infographic. Let me know if you have any additions, suggestions or questions.

Number of tourist increased in Georgia’s ski resort – Gudauri

After 2 months of no snow on Georgia’s ski resorts, it finally began to fall in the end of January, 2011. According to local sources the number of tourists in Georgia’s ski resort Gudauri, which is at elevation of 2,200 meters, has significantly increased. The snow is 20 cm high which is enough for skiing.

Locals say that most of the tourists are foreigners from Lithuania, Estonia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and other countries. Tourists say they have heard about Gudauri from commercials.

According to visitors prices are convenient. Rope-way ticket costs start from 21 GEL ($11) for elderly and 15 GEL ($8) for children. For a complete skiing set person should pay 30 GEL ($17). Those who cannot ski may take a lesson from a trainer which will cost them 30 GEL ($17) per day.

Prices in family-owned hotels start from 50 GEL ($28), room for two in an average hotel costs $100. Tourists say prices are lower than in hotels in Tbilisi.

Follow this link to view live cams of Gudauri.

The slopes of Gudauri are above the tree line and are best for free-riders. The ski season lasts from December to April. Heliskiing is also available throughout the season.