Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree prohibiting Russian airlines from carrying Russian citizens to Georgia from July 8. Putin has ordered the Cabinet of Ministers to help the citizens of Russia, who are traveling to Georgia, to return to Russia. Moreover, some recommendations have been issued for Russian tour operators, calling on them to refrain from selling tours in Georgia.
Subsequently, Russian airlines will stop selling air tickets to Georgia from July 8. According to Russian media, Smart, Pabeda, Red Drive and S 7 have already stopped selling tickets.
In response to the ban and the possible threats to the Georgian tourism industry, Georgian activists together with businessmen and international society have launched the campaign ‘Spend Your Summer in Georgia’. The campaign aims at popularizing Georgia as a travel destination to tackle the possible difficulties due to the decreased number of incoming Russian tourists. Besides, Russian tourists have encouraged their Georgian friends by saying that they will find other ways to reach Georgia.
Georgian airline companies are also launching Russia-Armenia-Georgia flights to help Russian tourists enter Georgia. Georgian businessman Mamuka Khazaradze is ready to cover 10 flights for Ukrainian tourists to support the Georgian tourism industry. Every day local as well as international support is getting stronger and stronger.
The ban was followed by the cancellation of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. The assembly was led by the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Sergei Gavrilov, a deputy of the Russian Duma from the Communist Party. Angered by the presence of Sergei Gavrilov in Georgia, citizens gathered at the Parliament building in Tbilisi to protest Russian occupation in Georgia.