Thursday, March 29, 2007

Travel Patterns

2006 is the first year since the country's independence when more people arrived by air than departed. More specifically, 586,800 individuals arrived in 2006, compared to 585,300 that left, as reported by the Migration Agency. In contrast, 636,900 arrived in 1992, which is 228,600 short of the number of those who left.

Number of individuals arriving by air (in black)
and the difference between arrivals and departures (in red), 1989-2006.

Travel by land also exhibited a similar positive reversal in the trend of arrivals and departures. In 2000, departures exceeded arrivals by some 19,000. By 2006, this was reversed, and arrivals exceeded departures by about 21,000. Most if not all of this takes place through Georgia to the north. A number of factors may explain this emerging pattern. One of the more interesting potential causes of this surge is that perhaps Georgia is being rewarded for abolishing its corrupt traffic police. It is well known that more and more Armenian tourists travel to vacation in Georgia, an unlikely fete before the crackdown on corruption in that country. The travel numbers in 2005 and 2006 are quite telling!

Arrivals and Departures by Land
Year Arrived Left Difference
2000 100805 119331 -18526
2001 120750 138891 -18141
2002 143997 136458.. 7539
2003 147244 132488. 14756
2004 169432 155565. 13867
2005 257652 236261. 21391
2006 375124 354405. 20719

For a population of 3 million, the number of arrivals and departures to the country is quite sizable and may have significant implications for the economy. Is anyone studying the trends in travel and recent migration patterns? What kind of infrastructure is being put in place to accommodate the surge in travel? Is out migration reversed? I am sure there are many other questions.

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