Tourism in Abkhazia
Tourism in Abkhazia is illegal under Georgian law through an action of the Georgian government to ban foreigners from entering the occupied territory. Still, the Abkazian beaches on the Black Sea continue to attract Russian visitors aided in part by low prices for transport and accommodation, as well as the Soviet legacy of Abkhazia as a destination for tourists.
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (February 2011)|
During the time of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia's Black Sea beaches attracted tourists from a number of surrounding countries, constituting a 40 percent share of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic's tourism market. Prior to the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia, over 202,000 tourists visited the region every year. Abkhazia is now a disputed region, with Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru as the only United Nations member states that recognise the territory as an independent nation. Under Georgian law it is illegal for non-Georgians to enter Abkhazia without the knowledge of the Government of Georgia.
Despite the risks involved, just under 300,000 tourists visit Abkhazia each year, mainly from Russia. One of the attraction of visiting Abkhazia as opposed to other Black Sea coastal towns, such as Sochi, is the lower cost of visiting the breakaway state. One night's accommodation in Gagra, for example, cost US$25 in 2003, with the cheapest hotel in the region setting a rate of US$12 for a room and meals in that year. A trainride from a Russian border town of Sochi to the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi only cost US$1 in 2003. However, Abkhazia's tourism facilities are below Western standards, with much of its infrastructure dating back to the Soviet era.
Abkhazia lies on the coast of the Black Sea, and as such, much of its tourism appeal is derived from its coastal resort towns. A number of resort facilities exist in easy and cheap reach of Russian tourists, with Sukhumi and Gagra two of the most popular towns. Tourism is most prevalent in the region's north.
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