Civilization of grape vines and the brand-new energetic best tourism destination: An exclusive interview featuring Archil Kalandia, the Georgian Ambassador to China
With a history of 3000 years, Georgia is reputed as "God's Forgotten Backyard". For anyone that has visited Georgia has experienced the landscape's gorgeous mountains and rivers, the people's sincere and honest local customs and the country's exceptionally fragrant wine and unforgettable nature.
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, which joined the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) in 2019 becoming a member city, is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe. The city is now among the "European Best Destinations" since its overwhelming uniqueness never ceases to impress tourists, due to its long history, abundance in cuisine, diversity of architecture and numerous attractions. This alluring city shows the public the perfect fusion of the past and the present.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, named Tbilisi as the "World Book Capital 2021". Around the slogan "Ok. So your next book is…?", the program focuses on the use of modern technologies as powerful tools for encouraging young people to read.
So, what are the unique charms that Georgia possesses to make itself a favored destination? Archil Kalandia, the Georgian Ambassador to China, unveiled the mystery of this country for us this autumn in the Embassy of Georgia in China.
"Tbilisi is a part of my life"
Tbilisi is one of the oldest capitals in Europe. The name of the city is first mentioned in historical sources from the fourth century; however, it was not a capital then, but a fortified city. Convenient geographical location has contributed to the development of Tbilisi, turning it into a prominent hub between Europe and Asia.
Ambassador Kalandia was born in Tbilisi which is not simply the capital of Georgia but also a part of his life. Tbilisi is a city of rich culture and diversity. "You can visit Orthodox church, Jewish synagogue and Muslim mosque on one street in Tbilisi. This is because the diversity of people and culture in Tbilisi is profound." Tbilisi has been an open, inclusive and friendly city where Jews, Armenians, Azerbaijanis and other ethnic minorities live along with Georgians. A fervent historical and cultural atmosphere is displayed throughout the avenues and streets of Tbilisi. Colorful architecture blending the elements of the past and present shows the casual and simple lifestyle of this city. All the traits of human civilizations tell the history of Tbilisi.
"We are two of the most ancient countries in the world. That is why mutual understanding is much easier for two countries. As an ambassador, a long record of cultural and historical ties between two countries makes my duty more meaningful and easier." Ambassador Kalandia also stated that, due to the aforementioned advantages, Georgia is also playing an important role in the modern Belt and Road Initiative.
7 million bottles of wine exported from Georgia to China
As you have never expected, Georgia is the oldest wine region of the world and, therefore hailed "the cradle of wine". Wine is an integral part of Georgians' lives. They "raise their glasses and toast to celebrate the birth of a new life and bid farewell to the deceased by raising another glass of wine".
Speaking of wine, Ambassador Kalandia introduced to us with passion that "Georgia has uninterrupted history of viticulture and Winemaking which counts 8000 years. We also have special technology for wine-making "Qvevri", which is on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. In Georgia, especially the eastern part, you can find self-produced wine in many families with very special winemaking methodologies. This is why one of the symbols of Georgia is the vine. Georgia is home to at least 525 distinct grape varieties."
The Majority of linguists agree that semantic meaning of the word "wine" is rooted only in Georgian language. The root of the word "ghv" is purely Georgian and is found in many Georgian words. GVINO and then vino, vin, wine and etc.
Nowadays, China has become one of the major importers of Georgian wine. With its traditional and unique wine-making technology and delicate, diverse tastes, wine produced in Georgia is gradually becoming the new normal on Chinese tables. Ambassador Kalandia said, "When I first came to Beijing in 2005, wine culture was becoming more and more popular in this country. Georgia is the only country in the Region with free trade agreement with China. 7 million bottles of wine were exported from Georgia into Chinese market last year and we are trying to increase the amount in the post-pandemic era."
After we completed the interview, the ambassador also invited us to sample collected Georgian wine of various kinds.
"It's a huge responsibility to represent my country here in China"
In total Ambassador Kalandia has lived in Beijing more than 10 years. While being asked to choose a word to describe the Chinese capital, Ambassador Kalandia used "powerful". "Beijing is the political center of China where historical events have taken place. The city is developing very rapidly. It is an amazing place and I can see the power of this city every day."
Ambassador Kalandia has also visited many Chinese cities besides Beijing, with Kunming, Chengdu and Hangzhou being his favorite. As for the features of these cities, Ambassador Kalandia remarked in a familiar tone: "Kunming is a city with amiable climate, hospitable people and a long history. Many historical locations can be found in Sichuan, a place that highly resembles Georgia. Like Georgians, people there can see beautiful mountains and enjoy savoring wine. I like Hangzhou for its historical, modern and interesting features." He finished the talk by saying "but definitely Beijing is number one."
Ambassador Kalandia belongs to the post-80s generation. While being asked about his work as an ambassador in China, he replied: "I am very privileged. For me, it's a huge responsibility to represent my country here in China. My daily life is dedicated to strengthening and deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation between two countries." He also admitted that his backgrounds of being a sinologist (Ambassador had published Monography - Transformation of China in XXI Century and more than 10 articles regarding the Reforms and Opening Up Policy of China) and a professional economist of oriental countries have contributed a lot to his daily work and life. "As an ambassador, I can say that my work is full of challenges".
The campaign is a part of Visa’s global initiative to support small businesses around the globe
TBILISI, 13 July, 2020 - Visa today announced the launch of a joint 2-months, “Your Summer is here” campaign with a real estate platform Myhome.ge to support domestic tourism in Georgia.
Starting from August 1st, 2020 first 200 consumers booking a property through Myhome.ge with their Visa card will receive a 20% of cashback of maximum 100 GEL back to their account. The aim of the campaign is to promote local touristic destinations and support tourism business that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic.
The joint campaign “Your Summer is here” is part of Visa’s global initiative “Where You Shop Matters”, designed to support micro and small businesses around the globe as they go through the recovery following the COVID-19 lockdown. In Georgia the initiative has been launched in Georgia with Visa Small Business Hub, a merchant platform providing tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses and is powered by a number of Visa activities with banks and merchants.
“It has always been important for Myhome to support and promote domestic tourism, and for this purpose, during 2019, we’ve been introducing different destinations of Georgia to our customers and helped them create an adventure, loaded with impressions. Over the past summer, 125,000 users have found a place, where to stay daily, with the help of our platform. We want to simplify this process even more and create a platform where you can easily find and book a residential apartment, hotel, house or a cottage” – said Madona Kachkachashvili, Myhome Product Owner.
“Small businesses are at the center of our local communities and global economies. Being a global brand we’re well aware how important it is to be locally relevant and contribute to the communities we are part of. Especially now that we’re going through these hard times. With this campaign and “Where You Shop Matters” global initiative we support small business as well as encourage consumers to think of the positive impact each of them can make for the local travel industry. We are committed to helping small businesses thrive and expand their purchasing power through Visa’s fast, convenient and secure digital payment options and we will continue to support the big potential of small businesses, everywhere.” – said Cristina Doros, Visa Regional Manager for the Caucasus region.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com, www.visasoutheasteurope.com, https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE, www.visanewscissee.com
Turkmen team successfully performed at the Open Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Europe Cup in Plock, having won two gold, four silver and one bronze medals.
Student of National Institute of Sports and Tourism Dovran Atayev (up to 77 kg) and Batyr Bayramgeldiyevwho was the best in the weight category up to 61 kg were the champions of the tournament.
Yalkym Nuriyev won the silver in the weigh category up to 70 kg. Two students of National Institute of Sports and Tourism Gulshat Gylyjova (up to 55 kg) and Leyli Kazakova (up to 60 kg) as well as student of Turkmen State Architectural and Construction Institute Jahan Durdiyeva (up to 55 kg) also won silver medals.
Anna Bayramdurdiyeva won the bronze in the weight category up to 84 kg.
Therefore, all seven sportsmen of Turkmenistan national team participating in the tournament won different medals.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Generating project ideas, devising projects and teamwork were the major topics of a recent EU-supported youth summer camp, organised by the Akhalkalaki Local Action Group in the Kakheti region of Georgia.
During the summer camp, participants had the opportunity to raise awareness about the history of the region, visit cultural, historical and recreation sites, and receive information about the academic programmes of local educational institutions. Moreover, the young people learned traditional local crafts, such as the art of patterning and creating Georgian tablecloths and local cuisine.
The camp’s main topics were regional development and tourism, in which Kakheti region has great potential.
The event was held within the framework of the EU-supported project “Promoting a New Rural Development Approach in Akhalkalaki”, which is supported in the framework of European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through the ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in the country.
China highly appreciates friendship with Georgia - Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA)
The Georgian Vice Premier, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze met with Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), Li Jinzao, on the sidelines of the 22ndGeneral Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Georgian Foreign Minister emphasized Georgia’s successeful co-operation with China in many areas, including in tourism and welcomed the establishment of the world tourism alliance at the initiative of China.
Discussions focused on issues of bilateral relations. Mikheil Janelidze noted with satisfaction Georgia’s active participation in One belt One road Initiative. Special attention was paid to the signing of free trade agreement between Georgia and China, Georgia’s involvement in the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and many other important projects.
The development of tourism, culture and people-to-people contacts was identified as the priority areas of co-operation between the two countries. It was underlined that Georgia with its winter and summer resorts is an attractive tourist destination for China. Special note, in this context, was taken of the importance of direct flights between China and Georgia and of Chinese businessmen’s rising interest in Georgia’s tourism potential.
At the end of the meeting Mikheil Janelidze invited Li Jinzao to Georgia.
The meeting with the Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) was attended by the newly-elected UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and Georgia’s Ambassador to China Davit Aptsiauri.
The Business forum has been holding in Batumi is attended by the President of Slovakia Andrej Kiska. The aim is to deepen business and trade cooperation between Georgia and Slovakia. The investment and tourist potential of Adjara region was presented to the Slovakian businessman. The Presidents of Georgia and Slovakia delivered speech.
Giorgi Margvelashvili highlighted the potential of economical projects and tourist investments. As he said, Georgia is interesting country for investors because the country has the lowest tax rates in the region, lowest corruption level and very high rates of business start.
“Three important hotels have been opened and two more will be opened in this year. They are too large hotels with 4 000 apartments. We are the country which connects Caspian and Black Seas. We are a country that is involved in the project is the most important part of the Silk Road. We are a country that has free trade with Europe, ”-Giorgi Margvelashvili said.
“Arriving A class stars to Georgia means that our country is quite safe, stabile and ready as the intellectual and human resources, also in infrastructure development,”-the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze said today in the framework of discussing the project: Check-in-Georgia. According to him, Check-in-Georgia is mostly economical project then cultural event.
“When we are talking about such level, scope and quality cultural events, we should understand that this is the way for popularity which has good impact on tourism. This means new jobs and increasing incomes for the population,”-Minister said.