(enjoy my first rebooted vlog bit... it's more done just to be audio/podcast of the blog below, but maybe I'll add some effects later to the series and make it more vloggish, let me know what you think in the comments)
Georgia is safe.
I’ve got to repeat that time and time again, despite the popular draws the country has into the international media. The citizenry generally struggle to be known for positive things, like cheese boats with eggs, wine, techno clubs, and fashion, but the real draw in our disaster porn-obsessed culture seems to be civil unrest and war with Russia. To be sure, the ongoing occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are pressing concerns, but they don't really effect the climate for tourism, and if you don't travel there, you'll even have no idea that part of the country is barred by demarcation lines.
Like any country, things go wrong. The government has its problems, the city has its corruption, these things aren’t really that strange in the developing world, nor are they in the West. The United States (my home country) has been under wave of wave of violent protests, from BLM to Proud Boys to “antifa”, most of these end up with looting, beatings, tear gas, and mass arrests. So when a bit of that revolutionary spirit sparked up in my adopted home of Tbilisi, the emails and concerned calls phoned in. It’s a small country making international news for protests, so of course it must be big news, never mind that it’s just par for the course in a democratic country. It was actually far less violent than most American protests are (of course, if my American friends were imagining a modern American-style protest going down, I can see why they were concerned!).
After the unrest followed the typical bellicose sentiments of the Russian government, trying to drum up a dose of conspiracy and anxiety in order to gain support from their own waning electorate. Putin declared that Georgia was unsafe for Russian citizens and inexplicably placed a travel ban on the country. In response, the Georgians have a launched a movement to drum up tourism from other countries, the #spendyoursummeringeorgia campaign.
Despite Putin’s utmost, heartfelt concern for his citizens (/endsarcasm), Georgia remains a safe place, even for Russians. Georgians are for the most part welcoming people and though there are things wrong with the country (as in any country), there are also a great deal of things right in the country, especially for vacationers.
Image ripped from this CNN article who apparently got it from Vano Shlamov on Getty Images. Being a blog 6 people read means I can feel free to rip off images.