01 November 2016
By Fouzia Khan
JEDDAH: Saudis can now travel to Georgia without a visa, according to Georgian Ambassador George Janjgava who visited Jeddah recently.
Janjgava made the announcement during a meeting at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), where he met with Ziad bin Bassam Al-Bassam, JCCI vice chairman, Fahad bin Saiban Al-Sulami, JCCI board member, Khalaf bin Hosan Al-Otaibi, and a number of executive leaders.
He said the measure has been taken to strengthen bilateral ties and increase trade between Saudi Arabia and Georgia.
He told Arab News that aside from visa-free travel, Saudis can stay in Georgia for a whole year with multiple entries. Even residents of the Kingdom can visit Georgia without a visa and stay up to three months, but they need to show their residence permit as well as hotel and airline bookings.
Georgians, however, need a Saudi visa to visit the country, but unfortunately, there is no Saudi Arabian Embassy in Georgia, although many businessmen would like to visit the Kingdom to enhance and avail themselves of the trade opportunities in the Kingdom, he said.
“We are expecting Saudi Arabia to open an embassy soon in Georgia to help in strengthening the relationship and trade between the two countries,” said the ambassador. He called on Saudi tourists to visit Georgia more often, as they can enjoy historical monuments, landscapes, healthy products and the mild climate of the place.
He said the Saudi economy is very strong and has the potential for tourism and investments in Georgia. Georgia has new opportunities, tourist capacities and investment prospects, and it has become the new destination for a lot of businessmen and investors in recent years.
Janjgava said that from January to September this year, almost 20,000 Saudi citizens and 6,500 Saudi residents visited the country, which means a doubling of the number of tourists in one year, where in 2015 the number was 10,000 Saudis and 3,000 residents who visited the country. He said this year they are expecting 30,000 Saudi visitors to Georgia.
Saudi investments in Georgia exceeded $100 million (SR375 million) after a rise in trade between the two countries, a 200 percent increase this year. This year almost 90,000 head of livestock came from Georgia.
Janjgava said Georgia is seeking more investments in agriculture and livestock, especially after the introduction this summer of direct flights by Georgian airline between Dammam and Tbilisi.
Al-Bassam said that the Kingdom’s stimulating investment environment provides financial and economic stability under Vision 2030, which offers great opportunities for investments in the development of infrastructure, education, transportation and health sectors.
JCCI is seeking to intensify the exchange of trade delegations in order to find a common mechanism to promote trade and investment between the two countries. Georgia has promising investment options for Saudi businessmen, he said.