Russia warns travelers to leave Georgia and suspends commercial flights by Georgian Airlines
The UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili is from Georgia, the 2019 UNWTO General Assembly is planned for September in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russia’s government on Saturday banned Georgian airlines from flying into its territory, extending restrictions imposed by President Vladimir Putin as part of growing tensions between Moscow and its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Putin had signed a decree late Friday banning Russian airlines from flying to pro-Western Georgia from July 8 in response to anti-Moscow rallies in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The protests broke out after a Russian lawmaker addressed parliament from the speaker’s seat earlier this week, a hugely sensitive move for two countries whose relations remain tense after a brief war in 2008.
Russia’s transportation ministry said that from July 8 two Georgian airlines would be banned from flying to Russia, citing the need to ensure “aviation safety” and debt owned by the Georgian companies.
Authorities recommended tour operators should stop selling travel packages to Georgia and recommended for Russian tourists to leave Georgia and return home.
The decision has shocked the travel and tourism industry in both Russia and Georgia