After visiting dozens of countries and hundreds of cities, one subconsciously forms a list of the most colorful and memorable places, which never cease to amaze and captivate. To me, Tbilisi is exactly one such place.
After the resumption of air traffic in March 2021, we are doing our best to attract passengers to travel to Georgia. This season, in order not only to increase the number of guests but also to make these trips special, we have implemented a non-standard collaboration with Makatsaria Tourism. Irakli Makatsaria – the ideological inspirer and co-founder of the project – is an embodiment of Georgia itself for many Ukrainians, so our choice was not random.
Cooperation with Makatsaria Tourism involves global partnership projects in both Ukraine and Georgia. For us, as a national carrier of Ukraine, it is important to develop bilateral relations with Georgia, share our culture, show the peculiarities of Georgian traditions in Ukraine and vice versa because Georgia is one of the main strategic partners. In this country, we develop not only the tourist and business potential, but also the airline’s transit potential, transporting Georgians to European countries via Kyiv. That is why we are happy to support projects aimed at the development of Georgian culture in Ukraine. We also believe that Ukrainian culture in Georgia can and should develop more actively, and we can become a direct part of this process by carrying the Ukrainian flag to Georgian airports of Tbilisi and Batumi.
Meanwhile, we moved from words to actions with our weekend tours to Tbilisi.
Any tour starts with a flight, and the tour with Makatsaria Tourism starts on the wings of UIA! During current quarantine reality, Ukrainians preparing for travel begin with COVID-19 testing, as well as filling out an electronic form to cross the Georgian border. An alternative to the PCR test is a vaccination passport issued in English.
The first four-day tour took place in the great atmosphere of local cuisine and wine, kindness and hospitality of Georgians, the greatness of Mtskheta, Kakheti, and Tbilisi itself.
Meals on tour, even if served as a light lunch, still consist of a large amount of khachapuri, barbecue and salads. Right after such "snack" and right before dinnertime, on their first day guests go on an evening walk through old Tbilisi, its cozy streets and old authentic temples.
In the next three days, guests from Ukraine will see one of the oldest cities in Georgia – Mtskheta with its Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. As well as Kakheti, namely Signahi, the "city of lovers", the Grammy Monastery and the Twins Wine Cellar.
In addition, Ukrainian guests must visit the unique wine cellar of Hareb in Kvareli. As part of the tour, they are offered to taste 6 wines, chachi’s distillation and tasting, a churchkhela master class, a master class on bread baking in tone, as well as one on making kebabs and khinkali. As you understand, hospitable Georgians will not let Ukrainians leave hungry after these masterclasses.
This tour is a real pleasure for those who know how to take only the brightest and most unforgettable moments from life. After all, it would seem it is only 4 days, but for the time you live here soaking the spirit and flavour of Georgia, you fly home as a Georgian already.
Together with Makatsaria Tourism, we will soon offer our guests similar tours exclusive to Batumi, because UIA has planned flights conveniently for such tours: departure from Kyiv on Thursday, return to Kyiv on Sunday. Well, for those who want to spend more time in Georgia, departures allow you to stay for seven, ten or fourteen days, respectively. Planning our flight programs to Batumi, we also expect to see our Georgian guests like at home here in Ukraine. Direct flights add comfort not only to Ukrainian tourists who are planning a summer vacation in Georgia, but also to residents of Batumi who want to visit Kyiv or fly around Europe or Ukraine together with UIA through our base airport Boryspil. This is especially true now since Europe is gradually opening its doors to vaccinated citizens from non-European countries.
At UIA we are deeply convinced that the pandemic is not a crisis; it is a window of opportunity that has opened boundless opportunities for collaboration, creative projects and bold decisions. This year's motto is Fly again, because we sincerely believe that our favourite passengers missed the flights no less than we did.