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IG COB President
29 November 2013

Itsik Moshe

 

Itsik Moshe was born in Georgia in 1959.

In 1971 he moved to live in Israel.

 

He has graduated from Tel Aviv University with degrees in Technologies and Education Science.

He did an academic research on “Psychological Aspects of Cultural Interaction in Business”.

He served in Aviation subdivision of the Israeli Army.

 

1974-1976 Itsik Moshe was head of students’ union in the college, and organized the first settlement in Judea and Samaria.

Itsik Moshe chaired students’ union and was responsible for foreign affairs issues at the World Jewish Students Union, WUJS.

In 1982-1988 Itsik Moshe gave lectures at IT college in Israel while heading the department

in the company “Tadiran”.

From 1989 to 1996  he was the first representative of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)

in the former Soviet Union.

Itsik Moshe established and headed six representations in the former Soviet Union states:

Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia

He raised funds for Israel from distinguished world Jewish organizations.

 

From 1996 Itsik Moshe is the president of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business.

(www.ig-chamber.org)

 

He is the organizer of official visits of the Government of Georgia to the United States,

Israel and Turkey and up to ten business forums in Israel and Georgia.

Itsik Moshe is the initiator of several international campaigns and conferences in Israel

and other countries.

 

Present time:

President, Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business

Member of board, International leadership council

Member, Arab-Israeli peace process committee in Israeli Parliament


איציק משה - יו"ר לשכת העסקים ישראל-גאורגיה
 

גאורגיה, אפיון וקשריה עם ישראל 
 
הקדמה
גאורגיה, מדינה נוצרית דמוקרטית, נמצאת כישראל בים מוסלמי, ומשמשת כשער כלכלי גיאופוליטי לאזור עבור המערב. גאורגיה נמצאת על נתיב המשי, מדינה חשובה בציר "טראסקה" ומשמשת כגשר/מעבר בין המזרח למערב. הפרויקטים המיושמים במיליארדי דולרים: צינור הנפט, באקו-ג'איחן וצינור הגז, העוברים דרך גאורגיה, מהווים בסיס מוצק להנחה, שלמערב יש ויהיה עניין בייצוב הכלכלי/הפוליטי במדינה. יש לגאורגיה עניין רב ואף אסטרטגי, בשיתוף פעולה עם ישראל והדבר נגזר הן מסיבות היסטוריות והן מסיבות אקטואליות/עכשוויות.
 
קשרים עם ישראל
גאורגיה, הנה מדינה ראשונה בחבר המדינות שפתחה את שעריה בסוף שנות ה-90 לארגונים ישראליים ולארגונים יהודיים בינ"ל. הקשרים הדיפלומטיים החלו ב-92, והתנופה בקשרים הכלכליים החלו בעיקר משנת 1996 ובשנה זו נפתחה לשכת העסקים ישראל גאורגיה. 
בשנת 1997 ישראל הייתה במקום הראשון בהשקעות הפרטיות וגם כיום נחשבת לאחת המדינות המובילות בפרמטר זה. הקולמינציה הכלכלית בשיתוף הפעולה הכלכלי בין המדינות היה בשנת 2007.
 
תחומי שתוף הפעולה
גאורגים מייצאים מים מינרלים, עץ, ריבות ויין לישראל, ומישראל מייבאים טכנולוגיות ומוצרי מזון. בתחום ההשקעות יש לציין את תחום התעופה, מלונאות, נדל"ן, ביטוח ועוד. בתקופה האחרונה התחומים העיקריים לקהילייה העסקית הישראלית הם תעשיית התיירות והחקלאות.
 
 
תרבות עסקית
גאורגיה מדינה פרדוקסאלית. אין מתאם בין המצב הסוציואקונומי לבין הצרכים והרצונות/דרישות. עדיין חיה בנוסטלגיית העבר, תקופה בה הייתה למדינה המובילה בבריה"מ ובמזרח אירופה.
האנקדוטה שבאה להמחיש במשפט אחד את הגאורגים היא: הגאורגים גאים כמו האירלנדים, מתלבשים כמו האיטלקים, עצלנים כמו הצרפתים, חכמים כמו היהודים, קומבינטורים כמו הישראלים, מצבם הכלכלי העכשווי עדיין כמו באפריקה, ומתנהגים בפועל כמו השייחים...
לגאורגים ראש מערבי ולב מזרחי. הנתונים הנ"ל מבלבלים את המערביים וכן את הישראלים הרגילים לעבוד במדינות ובקבוצות אנושיות 
יותר "צייתניות". 
בניתוח העסקים הכושלים שנעשה ונבדק ע"י לשכת העסקים נמצא שהבעיה העיקרית לכשל היה בגלל השוני בתרבות העסקית בין הישראלים למקומיים (ובעיקר בשל חוסר רצון של הישראלים להאזין וללמוד את התרבות העסקית המקומית).
 
 
תרבות
בעבר, כמעט בכל פסטיבל בינ"ל, בשירה, בקולנוע או בכל תחום אמנות אחר, גאורגיה הייתה המובילה במזרח אירופה. כבעבר, מתחילה 
לתפוס תאוצה, וקבוצות פולקלור, ריקוד ושירה יוצאים לעולם. המקום הפך לציד עבור אמרגנים מהעולם שמחתימים חוזים ארוכי טווח מקהלות לשירה ולריקוד ("אריסיוני", "סוחישוילי" ועוד), "הוליווד" החלה להזמין שחקנים ובימת "לה-סקלה" באיטליה התמלאה בזמרי אופרה ואמנים מגאורגיה. יש לציין שגם אונסק"ו הכירה בייחודיותה ובחרה את השירה העממית הגאורגית ורואה בה "נכס תרבותי של האנושות".
 
המשבר האחרון
המשבר השפיע על ההשקעות של הישראלים. ההשקעות הישראליות של 300 מיליון דולר יכלו להגיע לכ-1 מיליארד דולר. למרות המשבר הבנקים בגאורגיה בשל הפוליטיקה הכלכלית הקונסרבטיבית לא נפגעו  ואף החזירו לעצמם את הסטטוס בדירוג האשראי של פיץ' כפי שהיה לפני המשבר. מתחילת 2012 החלו הישראלים לחזור לגאורגיה וניתן לקבוע שהחזרה של הישראלים למזרח אירופה החלה ממרכז תביליסי.
 
 
הפוטנציאל הכלכלי/נתונים
בפרסומי הבנק העולמי, גאורגיה הוכרזה במשך שנים רבות כמדינה המובילה בעולם, באספקט של קיום ויישום מהיר של הרפורמות והתברגה למקום 11 בפרמטר של "קלות עשיית העסקים", בין מדינות מערב אירופה. (ישראל מקום 40).
בשנת 2016 גאורגיה תסבול ממחסור של 10,000 חדרי מלון, כיום בבירת גאורגיה תביליסי, כ-10 מיליון מ"ר של בתים סדוקים וכ-1 מיליון גאורגים בעלי יכולת מתגוררים מחוץ למדינה אשר התנהגותם כיהדות העולם, המגיעים למדינה קונים נדל"ן איכותי וחוזרים למקום מגוריהם. הממסד הקודם הצליח לשפר את התשתיות במדינה ויצר בסיס איכותי מסודר וממוחשב למדינה מערבית. ראש הממשלה החדש שמהווה לאיש עסקים מוצלח ברמה עולמית, הכריז על הקמת קרנות תמיכה של מיליארדי דולרים שיסייעו במתן ערבויות והשקעות משלימות לאנשי העסקים ומשקיעים שיתחילו עבודתם בגאורגיה. 
 
 
שירותי הלשכה
לשכת העסקים מעניקה שירותים בחינם לישראלים המתכננים להתחיל את עסקיהם בגאורגיה. 
השירותים: ייעוץ משפטי, כלכלי, חקר שוק ראשוני והרצאות בשוני התרבות העסקית וכן הכוונה לפעילות כלכלית.
 
 
מאת: איציק משה, יו"ר לשכת העסקים ישראל-גאורגיה   
 
 
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איציק משה - פרופיל אישי
יליד גאורגיה 1959, עליה ב-1971
בוגר ישיבה מקצועית, במסגרת הלימודים עד לאוניברסיטה קפץ פעמיים כיתה
תואר ראשון כפול, ע"י אוניברסיטת ת"א, במדעי החינוך ובהנדסת אלקטרוניקה ומחשבים 
עבודות מחקר במכון לפסיכולוגיה בתחום, "אספקטים פסיכולוגיים במפגש תרבויות"
עד 1988 מרצה בלוגיקה ספרתית וראש מדור בתדיראן 
החל מ-1989, נציג ראשון של ישראל בחבר המדינות, מטעם הסוכנות היהודית והקמת 7 נציגויות
הקמת חוג פוליטי של "ידיד ישראל" במסגרת צמרת הממסד בחבר המדינות
בעבר יועץ ממשלת גאורגיה 
כיום ראש לשכת העסקים ישראל-גאורגיה
חבר הנשיאות בארגון הבינ"ל להנהגה יהודית
חבר בשדולה לפתרון הסכסוך הישראלי הערבי שהוקמה בכנסת
 
מומלץ לצפיה
 
 
 
 

 

Business forum in San Francisco, Moscow and now in Tbilisi
11 March 2013

After elections 2012 Jewish businessmen are going to develop already existing businesses and also businessmen who are members of International Leadership Committee (MLC) expressed their readiness to explore Georgia's business potential.

 

Final Agreement with Rixos will cost additional $10mln
01 April 2013

Professional discussions held on the project Rixos in recent months, eventually ended this week with the agreement signed between the company CityM and the international network of luxury hotels Rixos.

Israeli Companies to be the Leading Investors in Georgia
17 December 2012

The Prime Ministers of Israel and Georgia and the Ambassadors of the both countries, the heads of Israeli business and trade organisations sent their greetings to the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business. Bidzina Iivanishvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia wrote in his address that "the government of Georgia will further improve the business environment in the country and encourage the activities of foreign investors in Georgia. I would like to express my gratitude to the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business for organizing this business forum".

Israeli Business in Georgia
09 December 2012

The representatives of Israeli business together with Mr. Itsik Moshe, the President of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business had a meeting with the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

Israeli Government Supports Business Forum
07 December 2012

Presentation of 50 business projects of Israeli companies After many years of negotiations Sotheby's is in Georgia.

Bidzina Ivanishvili Took the First Visit in the Synagogue
05 October 2012

He took the first visit to the Synagogue, which has expressed its support for Jews, Israel and the Jewish investors. The president of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, Mr. Itsik Moshe said that the relationship between Israel and Georgia is not only in numbers, but it's a bridge between the two neighboring countries.

Sotheby's to Enter the Georgian Market
03 December 2012

After six months of negotiations Sotheby's, luxury homes and real estate company, has finally decided to accept the initiative of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business and enter the Georgian market. Experts of Sotheby's are going to research the market in Tbilisi over the next two months. The company will make special projects for the 5 star Rixos residential penthouse.

Rixos Residence Tbilisi to Open its Doors in 2014
12 March 2012

An unprecedented building in Georgia - part of the Rixos Hotel Brand that is officially entering the Georgian market - is planned to be completed by 2014.

Israeli Investments Returning to Georgia
13 February 2012

"A new wave of Israeli investments in Georgia has already begun," Itsik Moshe, President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, told The FINANCIAL. "Pre-crisis investments of 300 million will be doubled very soon. I would say that the return of Jewish investments to Eastern Europe will begin from Tbilisi ," Mr. Moshe stated.

3 Business Forums in 2014
05 March 2014

Business Forum of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business – Direct Dialogue between Georgian Businessmen and Israeli Experts.

On March 12, 2014 on the initiative of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business (IGCOB) a business forum – dialogue will be held in Tbilisi between the Georgian businessmen and the Israeli experts. The topic of the forum is “Israeli Investments for the Development of the Tourism Industry”.

Local Businessmen to be Actively Involved in Interactions with Israeli Investors
06 March 2014

The statistics demonstrate that Georgia experienced significant growth in the tourism sector in recent years and this trend is becoming more and more visible, according to Itsik Moshe, the President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business (IGCOB). “The tourism industry is one of the main priority fields of Georgia with an increasing demand and, for this reason, the activities of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business (IGCOB) in 2014 will mainly be focused on attracting Israeli investments into the tourism industry,” he said.

Israeli investors to promote tourism in Georgia
13 March 2014

‘Israeli Investments for the Development of the Tourism Industry’, a forum – dialogue held by Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business (IGCOB) on March 12 presented Georgian businessmen and Israeli experts with the opportunity to meet with potential partners and develop cooperation.

According to Itsik Moshe, President of IGCOB, the activities of the chamber this year are mainly focused on attracting Israeli investments into the tourism industry. With the slogan ‘Find your partner,’ the business forum featured presentations of field specialists from Israel, Italy and Turkey and focused on issues like phases of development of tourism industry in Israel and Turkey, deepening cooperation with Israel and direct business connections, involvement of banks in the development of the Israeli tourism industry and alternatives for Israeli investors.

“By the end of 2014, we will organize three focused business forums bringing Georgian businessmen to Israel and in the fall we will summarize the results and statistics in two forums and present what we achieved during the year,” he clarified.

Vincenzo Porciello, Managing Partner at APL Project Consultancy told Georgia Today that his involvement in the forum is related to the design of the hotel, new trends in interior and how to achieve good service through design. “Sometimes good design improves the profitability of the hotel. We are expert designers of the hotels worldwide; we have vast experience and it’s a great opportunity for us to apply what we learned here in Tbilisi in terms of Rixos hotel,” he continued.

Yossi Hamami, Vice President of Private Companies and Business Organizations in Israel (LAHAV) stated that they are open for investments in every country. “We arrived in order to study the market in Georgia and establish business relationships with the Georgian business sector,” he clarified.

“Israel and Georgia have many years of experience in terms of trade and investments,” stated Roman Chkenkeli, Advisor to the Prime Minister on economic issues. “Israel is a very strategic investor for Georgia and the goal of the government is to expand and develop that relationship even further. In this regard IGCC plays an important role, which helps to bring investors to the country,” he stated, adding that last year 40,000 tourists arrived from Israel – a rise of 29% from 2012.

Ilan Yaron, representative of Meda Group, an organization holding conferences in different fields, explained to the audience that they are specialists in organizing conferences on the tourism industry where they bring businessmen to the country so that they can learn more and gain an interest in investing.

The event, which was partnered by the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Georgian National Tourism Administration, was supported by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.

Rixos Opening in Tbilisi Postponed until 2016
09 February 2015

"Rixos" opening in Tbilisi has been postponed for 2016.According to President of   the Israel -Georgia Chamber ofBusiness (IGCB), due to  the museum district, a greatimportance is paid to the facade materials. Itsik Moshe says  more than 10 facade stones have been tested. Experts from Israel will arrive in Georgia in the coming days to discuss once again the facade stones issue  along with the Georgian experts,which will suit the  museum district.

 

This time the Spanish stone will be tested, which is dominated in  Spain in museums and public buildings. Moshe notes thatafter facade stone is chosen,  a 24-hour work will start. He explains that due to a sophisticated design and  high requirements, Rixos opening date is expected to be postponed for  spring 2016.

 

Another project the  Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business is working on is a  boutique hotel construction in the Old Tbilisi, apermit for which the  Israeli company has been waiting for 7 years. As soon as the facades issue is solved, a final permit will be obtained and construction will begin.
 

Moshe adds  that hotel business remains the main sphere of interests for  Israeli investors in Georgia. Rixos hotel in Tbilisihad to  be opened in late 2015.

Israeli Chamber: ‘Transition Period in Georgia Lasting too Long’
16 March 2015

The FINANCIAL -- Georgia has a potential to attract over USD 250 million of FDI from Israel annually. However, reaching this figure requires strengthening bilateral cooperation from both sides. Real estate and agriculture will remain the main sectors in which Israeli investors will continue to invest during 2015. The recently established Israel-Azerbaijan Chamber is alarming for Georgian officials not wanting to lose the competitiveness of the country on a regional level. 

According to the primary data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, FDI from Israel to Georgia exceeded USD 16 million in 2014, up from USD 9.8 million from the previous year. However, Itsik Moshe, President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, said that the volume is much more. “Assuming the example of the previous year, 75% of investments issued by Israeli investors are registered under other countries.”

The Israel-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2013. During recent years Georgia has had the ambition of becoming the hub of the region. The Chamber is believed to increase bilateral economic relations between Israel and Azerbaijan. “Is there any risk that on a regional level Israeli investors will shift to Azerbaijan? -  this question should be addressed to the Georgian side. Taking care of this issue is in their hands,” said Moshe.

“I still declare that there is a great potential and willingness from the Israeli side. The rest should be decided by Georgia,” Moshe said.

Q. What are the exact projects that have been established with Jewish investments in Georgia in 2014?

A. I am aware of three projects in just one business sector, which are worth USD 27 million. This is private investment without any loans. As for the funds attracted from banks, international companies and tenders, the portfolio exceeds several dozen million. The Georgia-Israel Chamber of Business mostly works on attracting private investments, and later on - their proper management. We pay more attention to it as it supports the development of the two countries’ bilateral economic relations.

Q. What are your expectations, what will the volume of FDI from Israel to Georgia be for 2015?

The potential of investments reaches over USD 250 million annually. However, in regard to this, bilateral work is important. Jewish investors will continue investing in the real estate and agriculture sectors this year.

Q. The recent changes in visa regulation and prohibition of agro-land purchase by foreigners raised big concern among the business society. How have the above-mentioned changes impacted on Israeli businessmen?

A. Imagine that an Israeli investor constructs a high class building worth millions of dollars. Together with problems like different business culture and less experience on the local market, in addition, for every three months of being here now investors have to leave the country for three months. This hinders the process of construction; it is almost equal to the sinking of the project. In addition, there is a fair amount of uncertainty. Investors are afraid that they might be prohibited from entering the country. I welcome a willingness to revise this issue.

Q. Could you please name the remaining competitive advantages of Georgia for investors in comparison with its neighbour countries?

A. There is still a normal environment in Georgia which is lacking in neighbouring countries.

Q. Due to the sharp devaluation of the national currency, economic conditions in Georgia are a bit hard. Representatives of various international chambers openly blame the Georgian Government for it. What is your viewpoint, could Georgia avoid external problems in the case of having a better domestic policy?

A. As one of the most experienced and senior representative of this sector who has been living in Georgia for 25 years, I would not join in with the harsh statements of international organizations. Their estimations might be due to less of an awareness of and approach to estimating the Georgian reality from the parameters of their own countries. Georgia is a small country and will manage to improve the issues led by domestic policy.

Q. The state of Israel managed to achieve political and economic development in a very short period of time. What is your recommendation, which steps should Georgia take in order to build a prosperous country?

A. Education, talent and potential is at a sufficient level in Georgia. I would strengthen one parameter, which is a lack of love of the country. It expresses itself in all areas.

On the one hand, it is not easy to run a country with such social-economic parameters. On the other hand though, it should not be difficult to improve the economic conditions of such a small country during 25 years. Unfortunately, this has still not been achieved.

Q. In 2014, you initiated the employment of 500 Georgians in Israel. What have the results of this initiative been?

A. This is a purely Georgian issue. The embassy as well as the business chamber do not represent a side. We declare our initiative and readiness. The rest should be taken care of by the Georgian side in line with their needs and interests.

Q. Your initiative to employ 500 Georgians in Israel was quite a positive step from your side. Meanwhile, if we discuss the issue from a global point of view, don’t you think that due to the constant crisis in the country we will experience a brain drain?

A. The problem is not in quantity but in its control and legitimacy. Working legally abroad for some period will increase qualifications in various fields and also help to improve the financial situation of Georgians.

The Georgian Business Ombudsman has met Itsik Moshe
24 March 2015

Today, at the Georgian Prime Minister's instruction, Business Ombudsman Giorgi Gakharia met President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business Itsik Moshe. Discussions focused on the issues relating to the widely-publicised case of the Israeli investors - Meir Shavit and his companies.

"We agreed that, on our part, we'll pay much more attention to how the tax inspection process is moving ahead, why it has been drawn out for such a long time, and we'll do our utmost, within the scope of our competence, to convince the Revenue Service, based on our recommendations, of the need to promptly resolve the issue " - Giorgi Gakharia is quoted as saying following the meeting.

ისრაელელი და ქართველი ბიზნესმენები იერუსალიმში ხუთვარსკვლავიან სასტუმროს ააშენებენ
23 August 2015

„მაშინ, როდესაც აღმოსავლეთ ევროპაში ისრაელური ინვესტიციები გაყინულია, მინდა წარმოგიდგინოთ უკვე მზა პროექტები, რომელთა განხორციელება ისრაელური ინვესტიციით თბილისში სულ მალე დაიწყება“, – ამის შესახებ საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის პრეზიდენტმა, იციკ მოშემ ისრაელში ბიზნესფორუმის გახსნის ცერემონიალზე განაცხადა. ისრაელში ბიზნესფორუმის ღონისძიებას თბილისის მერი და ქართული დელეგაციაც დაესწრო. იციკ მოშეს თქმით, საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის თაოსნობით, იერუსალიმში პირველად განხორციელდება ინვესტიცია ქართველი ბიზნესმენების მონაწილეობით – ებრაელი და ქართველი ბიზნესმენები ისრაელის დედაქალაქის ცენტრში ააშენებენ ხუთვარსკვლავიან სასტუმროს. „უახლოესი მომავლისთვის დაგეგმილი პროექტების ჯამური მოცულობაა 100 მილიონი დოლარი. ესაა ახალი ინვესტიცია, ახალი სახეები, ახალი ინვესტორები“, – განაცხადა ბიზნესფორუმზე იციკ მოშემ. მისივე თქმით, საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის ორგანიზებით, 8-9 სექტემბერს თბილისს ისრაელის დელეგაცია ეწვევა. ისინი თბილისში ადგილობრივ პარტნიორებს შეხვდებიან, ისრაელიდან ასევე ჩამოვა მედიაჯგუფი, რომელიც თბილისის ტურისტულ პოტენციალს და მიმდინარე პროექტებს და პროგრამებს გაეცნობა. საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის ორგანიზებითა და ისრაელში საქართველოს საელჩოსა და ქნესეთის მხარდაჭერით, 17-18 აგვისტოს გაიმართა თბილისის მერის დავით ნარმანიას ოფიციალური ვიზიტი ისრაელში. თბილისის მერმა შემდეგი შეხვედრა იერუსალიმის მერთან, ნირ ბარკათთან გამართა. შეხვედრას ესწრებოდნენ საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის პრეზიდენტი იციკ მოშე, თბილისის მერიისა და საკრებულოს წარმომადგენლები.“ჩემი ვიზიტი ემსახურება სამ მიმართულებას: პირველი არის ინვესტიციის მოზიდვა და კონკრეტული პროექტების განხორციელება, მეორე, ტურიზმის სფეროში თანამშრომლობა და მესამე, მაღალი ტექნოლოგიების განვითარების ხელშეწყობა. დედაქალაქის კარი ღიაა ინვესტორებისთვის, მე პირადად ვარ გარანტი, რომ ხელი შეეწყობა პროექტების განხორციელებას. გვერდში დავუდგები თითოეულ ინვესტორს”, – განაცხადა დავით ნარმანიამ. ნირ ბარკათი თბილისის საინვესტიციო გარემოთი, ტურიზმითა და სამედიცინო სფეროთი დაინტერესდა.ბიზნეს ფორუმი, რომელსაც ესწრებოდა ასამდე ისრაელელი, ამერიკიდან და გერმანიიდან ჩამოსული ებრაელი ბიზნესმენი, საქართველო-ისრაელის ბიზნეს პალატის პრეზიდენტმა, იციკ მოშემ გახსნა. მან დამსწრე საზოგადოებას გააცნო ის ბიზნესპროექტები, რომელთა განხორციელება უახლოეს მომავალში დაიწყება. „მაშინ, როდესაც აღმოსავლეთ ევროპაში ისრაელური ინვესტიციები გაყინულია, მინდა წარმოგიდგინოთ უკვე მზა პროექტები, რომელთა განხორციელება ისრაელური ინვესტიციით თბილისში სულ მალე დაიწყება. ესენია: სასტუმრო „გერგეთი“ – დაიწყება 9/2015 – მოცულობა 25 მლნ დოლარი; სასტუმრო „Art Hotel“ – 9/2015 – 12 მლნ დოლარი; სასტუმრო-ბუტიკი “რუსთაველი” – 9/2015 – 5 მლნ დოლარი; სასტუმრო აპარტამენტები – 12/2015 – 7 მლნ დოლარი სასტუმრო და ბიზნეს ცენტრი – 12/2015 – 20 მლნ დოლარი; მოდერნიზებული სამრეცხაო – 9/2015 – 2.5 მილიონი დოლარი; Hi-Tech-ის პირველი ისრაელური ექსელერატორი საქართველოში.“

 

Georgian investors help build 5-star Hotel in Jerusalem

 

The president of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business is delivering speech at Georgia-Israel business forum held in Israel on August 17. Georgian investors are making their first investments in Israel by contributing funds to build a new five-star hotel in the centre of the ancient city of Jerusalem. President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business Itsik

Moshe said the Georgian and Israeli business communities will work together on the project, which has an investment

portfolio of $100 million USD. Georgia’s efforts work hand-in hand with a similar project currently underway in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Moshe noted the Georgian business community will invest in the Rixos hotel in Jerusalem in response to the investment of the Israeli community in the hotel project in Tbilisi. Georgia’s financial contribution to Israel was decided at the Georgia-Israel business forum, held in Israel on August 17 where Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania introduced Georgia’s investment potential to 101 businessmen. “At this moment we are searching for the perfect place for the hotel. We want to build it in the old city. After choosing the place in September we need permission from the City Hall and then we will start constructions. Georgian and Israeli business group want to build a leading hotel in Jerusalem,” Moshe told . This will be an investment implemented by the Georgian investors’ group together with the Israeli business community. This will be a Georgian investment but this amount of money will not be withdrawn from Georgia. This bilateral cooperation is very important,” he added. On another note, Moshe announced other projects that would begin to be implemented next month in Georgia using Israeli funds. These projects include the construction of a Gergeti hotel (investment sum is $25 million USD), an Art Hotel (investment sum $12 million USD), Rustaveli boutique hotel ($5 million USD) and modern laundry ($2.5 million USD). In December Israeli funds will help build a hotel apartment ($7 million USD) and a business centre ($20 million USD). Looking ahead, the Israel- Georgia Chamber of Business will organize a visit for an Israeli delegation to Georgia for September 8-9 and while here the Israeli side will meet their local partners. Similarly, a media group will also travel from Israel to Georgia to learn about the country’s touristic potential and share it with their home audience. Currently Moshe is on an official visit to Russia’s capital Moscow to encourage Israeli investors living in Russia to invest in Georgia.

Itsik Moshe: I Achieved All Goals I had Defined
07 March 2016

Caucasus Business Week had an blitz interview with the President of the Georgia-Israel Business Chamber Itsik Moshe in our Other side of Business category.

I am a specialist of Hi-Tech engineering by profession and I also hold a BA degree in education science.

I have graduated from the Tel Aviv University faculties of engineering and education. In my early youth period I was actively involved in the public life of Israel. I am the first representative of Israel in the Soviet Union and the first representative of international organizations in Georgia. At the end of 1990s, after the diplomatic/representative activities, I changed my profile and founded the first bi-national business chamber (Georgia-Israel) in Georgia.

I easily found a job place. I was employed at the first interview. I started working in the period of my college studies as a loader at the filter manufacturing plant, during vacation periods. I started my first official and serious job at Tadiran, the international company of electro communications.

Naturally, I was content with my first salary that made up 320 USD. Anyway, even the 1/10 amount of this sum would make me happy. I was very pleased to realize that I was a financially independent person and I had started contributing to the family budget. I perform the most useful job at dawn, from 05:00 to 08:00 period.

I go to my job place at 9 o’clock every morning. Initially, I discuss the agenda jointly with the company administration and manager, as well as mail and tasks that I usually send to my employees before 08:00. I would never work in the retail trade, because I prefer to create than to manipulate with the creature and start purchase-sales activities.

The most important thing in the life is to make benefit to your homeland. This is my priority. Most of all I am afraid of the moment when the so-called internal voice and the soul of charity disappears, when the money becomes a goal in itself, not the mean for attaining other goals.

I have frequently thought of what I would do and of what I have failed to do. I guess, maybe, I am a boring person, because till now I have achieved all goals I had defined ever. Everything should be done for career success that does not violate the moral frames.

I would suggest Georgian businessmen to pick up business culture and terminology of Israeli colleagues and analyze that investors and tourists represent friends of the country and they perform a special role at this stage of the development of Georgia.

We are able in Georgia to fully express ourselves in the business sector or various projects. Regretfully, businessmen lack for similar opportunities in more developed European countries. I love travelling as part of my official visits. Maybe, I am a boring person in this respect too. I cannot receive pleasure from only trips and relaxation without business activities.

I like communicating with journalists, when they come well-prepared and well-organized. Tiramisu is my favorite dish. I do not have any favorite direction in sport, because I am not addicted to sport, because my job is my sport (brainwork in this case).

Georgia-Israel: Economic Perspectives and Cooperation Mechanisms
05 April 2016

Israel is one of the exemplar countries in the world, where Georgian officials could find many interesting practices to implement in Georgia.

Israel has been fighting against terrorism since its very foundation. Despite continuous state of war, the country has developed one of the strongest economies worldwide.

Despite tight relations between Georgia and Israel, over the past years Israeli exports to Georgia is decreasing and Israeli businessmen show less interest in the Georgian investment environment. There is much room for improving the Georgian exports too.

The latest statistics proves that Israel is not recorded in Georgia’s ten top exports markets. Moreover, exports have considerably shrunk in 2015 compared to 2014.

According to Geostat, the national statistics service of Georgia, in 2003 Georgia’s exports to Israel constituted 957.400 USD. The figure marked 1.45 million USD in 2004, 1.01 million USD in 2005, 2.3 million USD in 2006, 13.7 million USD in 2007, 2.4 million USD in 2008, 1.6 million USD in 2009, 4.2 million USD in 2010, 3.1 million USD in 2011, 36.1 million USD in 2012, 2.4million USD in 2013, 4.5 million USD in 2014 and 5.6 million USD in 2015.

EXPORT

As to Israeli’s exports to Georgia, the figure made up 1.75 million USD in 2003, 4.9 million USD in 2004, 9.6 million USD in 2005, 22.3 million USD in 2006, 37.8 million USD in 2007, 41.5 million USD in 2008, 69.9 million USD in 2009, 14.5 million USD in 2010, 28.6 million USD in 2011, 31.6 million USD in 2012, 31.3million USD in 2013, 41.8 million USD in 2014 and 22.5 million USD in 2015.

What factors precondition a slowdown in Israeli imports to Georgia, in particular, over the last period? How interesting do Israeli businessmen find Georgia for making investments? In general, what are the perspectives for enhancement of economic relations between Georgia and Israel?

Israeli Ambassador to Georgia Yuval Fuchs assures that there are no obstacles and barriers in bilateral trading. However, the Israeli ambassador has recognized the statistical indicators leave a great deal to be desired.

IMPORT

Two conclusions can be made in this situation. The GEL depreciation and regional development tendencies is the first. The coming election period could be considered the second factors that resulted in exports contraction from Israel, Mr. Yuval Fuchs noted.

Regretfully, Georgia’s exports to Israel are also insignificant. As a result, the Israeli ambassador thinks that Georgia should increase exports to Israel and the conclusion of a free trade agreement with Israel would be one of the promoting factors. Georgia should make focus on stability and growth of figures, Mr. Yuval Fuchs said.

„Small and medium business constitute a major part of the Israeli economy. Therefore, we should have realistic expectations. We want to see Georgian investments in Israel. We want to see Georgian stakeholders in the Israeli Hi-Tech sector, where almost all countries make investments. Regretfully, Georgia is not represented in this field”, Mr. Yuval Fuchs said.

Our countries should develop economic cooperation, Itsik Moshe, head of the Georgia-Israel Chamber of Business, noted. Successful economic cooperation depends on many factors and the reality may be different from our desires, he said. Several years ago Israeli investments in Georgia were genuinely growing, but the global financial crisis has affected this tendency too. Currently this direction is declining, but the situation is not hopeless and we should perform huge job, Mr. Itsik Moshe noted.

“Thanks to hyperactive efforts of the Georgia-Israel Chamber of Business, almost all subjective factors were neutralized that could frustrate enhancement of economic cooperation”, Mr. Itsik Moshe said.

Over the past years Israeli investments have nearly zeroed in Eastern Europe and now Georgia, thanks to its attractive investment environment, has the chance to draw Israeli investments. In 2015 the Georgia-Israel Chamber of Business launched a campaign – Return to Eastern Europe to Start in Tbilisi. Thanks to this campaign Georgia has received several major investments from Israel in the tourism and hotels segments. These investments will build three hotels in 2016 and they will launch operation in 2017, Mr. Itsik Moshe said.

Along with Israeli investments, Georgia should share the Israeli experience in startups and Hi-Tech development to boost economic ties with Israel. Georgia has enough resources in this respect.

“This year several Georgian and Georgian-Israeli startups were created with support of the business chamber. A US hi-tech company staffed by Israeli specialists has entered Georgia with our support. This company is ready to assist Georgian startups to pave way in the global market”, Mr. Itsik Moshe said.

Israeli Society Appreciates Absence of Bureaucratic Barriers in Georgia
06 June 2016

Interview with Itsik Moshe President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business.

The inflow of Israeli tourists to Georgia is growing. What factors have driven this tendency and what would you your forecasts? What format do you work in and what are the most important issues today?

The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business started establishing contacts, when none of the parties believed in this potential. Israel considers Georgia an attractive country in terms of investments and tourism potential. The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business tightly cooperates with the national tourism administration of Georgia and the Tourism Ministry of Israel for the purpose of boosting tourist turnover between Israel and Georgia. We have sponsored two publications by Israeli student Koral Kratensten that describe Georgia’s tourism potential: “21 Days in Georgia” and “Georgia: On High Heels, Jeans or Ties”.

The objective of the author is to show that, besides beautiful cuisine and picturesque landscapes, Georgia is a country of rich culture, legendary history and traditions of many centuries. All these factors grow the interest in this country and positively affect tourist inflows to Georgia.

Both publications were warmly accepted in Israel. Moreover, by support of House of Israel, Koral Kratensten has been meeting with various social groups in Israel to tell them about Georgia.

Recently I met with the Minister of Tourism of Israel in Jerusalem and discussed perspectives for cooperation with Georgia. We plan to apply to the Israeli Tourism Ministry for developing the mechanism that will assist Georgian tour operators in working in this sector of Israel and at the same time, create guarantees to prevent tourists from staying in Israel on illegal basis.

You have submitted a specific plan to the Israeli Tourism Minister for developing tourism between the two countries. What does this plan imply and do you have any specific concepts?

The Israel-Georgian Chamber of Business is ready to provide free of charge consultations to travel companies on the issues related to Georgian tourists’ entrance to Israel under the visa-free regime. As I have noted, we plan to apply to the Israeli Tourism Ministry to issue special licenses to Georgian tour operators, which operate on the Israeli direction. These licenses will enable Georgian tour operators to easier convey tourists to Israel (as known, frequently, many tourists are not let enter Israel at airports because of security issues). At the same time, travel companies will have to submit financial guarantees for obtaining licenses.

Positive attitudes to the tourism sector are evident, but what kind of moods are discerned among investors towards other directions of Georgia? How attractive is the Georgian market for them? Do they believe in stable development of Georgia or there are certain fears and unclear expectations in the pre-election period?

Some things may be seen from one side, not from another side. As a rule,  accents are different from the outside. There are different proportions. In general, everything is comparative in this world and currently, the global economy remains stagnant, in practice. In this situation, Israeli investors have stopped putting money   in Eastern Europe, while in Georgia Israeli investment projects are continued, despite their tiny scales. The time and experience have proved that contacts between friendly countries do not depend on  political regimes. Despite certain problems and information deficiency on each others’ business culture and potential, the Israeli society is quite confident in Georgia’s stable development, business friendly environment. The Israeli society appreciates absence of bureaucratic barriers and always shows positive attitudes towards Georgia. Nevertheless, huge job should be still performed, active efforts and involvement of state officers are required to eradicate these problems.

What are target directions for making investments in and is there potential to boost investment-making process?

Tourism, real estate and hotel business remain basic directions. This year we have started promoting Hi-Tech Startups and introducing the Israeli model to Georgia. Georgia possesses much potential in this field and joint efforts will enable us to fully employ this potential and express it in specific figures.

I appreciate the recent initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. This initiative calls for active involvement of embassies in the process of attracting investors. Currently, there is no investor seeking any country for making investments in, in any field. Representatives of small countries should show more initiative and make a maximal use of the global crisis and Georgia’s regional advantage, in general.

As noted, today one of the main problems is related to the fact that many Georgian tourists visit Israel and then stay there. As a result, the issue of increasing job quots has become relevant. How serious is this problem today and is this issue resolvable?

Today, many mediator companies offer employment opportunities in Israel to Georgian citizens (on illegal basis) and they frequently request 10-15 thousand USD in exchange. This is a regretful reality, but poor families are ready to somehow pay even this sum. At this stage, we are conducting negotiations with the government of Israel to allocate due job quotas for Georgian building specialists. At the first stage, 500 workers may be employed in Israel and this signifies 500 Georgian families will receive legal revenues without commission fees and deportation fears. As a result, 500 professional and experienced builders will return to Georgia.

Several months ago you mentioned bureaucratic barriers in the country. There were certain problems in relation to the company of Israeli investor Meir Shavit. In that period you applied to the Prime Minister by a special letter, where you were describing the existing bureaucratic barriers. According to our information, the problems before Meir Shavit have been resolved. But what about the general picture? Has something changed? Do the bureaucratic problems exist anyway?

I would not call them bureaucratic barriers  and I would not act as a judge either. It was and remains important for me, the president of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, that similar issues be resolved as soon as possible under the governing legislation.

The problem did not consist in bureaucracy. In that period we were asking the Government to allocate a specific contact body for Israeli investors, because this decision could provide the environment  of confidence and safety and would enable investors to apply to the mentioned body in case of  problematic issues.

The government has satisfied our initiative, allocated a contact body and the issue was resolved. The core of the issue does not consist in whether problems exist or not. The main thing is  how tightly we can cooperative to jointly resolve problems as soon as possible.

What problems and advantages would you outline in Georgia as compared to other countries?

The main problem is that Georgia has a small market. The advantage is that the country shows readiness to promote Israeli investors.

What specific projects will be implemented in Georgia and what a volume of investments will be made in Georgia as part of these Projects?

At this stage, four new hotels are being constructed (two ones will open in the near future), a washing house. The direction of startups has been also activated, as well as agro tourism.

I believe the new tourism directions such as Wellness Tourism and Weekend Tourism are very interesting for the Georgian tourism sector. Both directions rely on VIP tourists and businessmen, who cannot travel because of hectic schedule. Therefore, we will develop special tours for them to ensure their spiritual and physical healthiness, full relaxation and create best impressions on Georgia. Each tourist should become Georgia’s friend and envoy in their own countries.

Itsik Moshe: Government should Guarantee Safety of Each Tourist Visiting Georgia
08 July 2016

Problems with services and attitude to visitors may pose threats to the growing tourist inflow to Georgia.

It is not disputable that growth in tourist inflows is directly related to the environment that the host country offers to visitors, but the experience of the developed tourism countries suggests that  financial safety and other safeguarding measures become necessary almost every time, besides physical safeguarding measures. In this respect, Georgia is among the countries that seemingly need to enforce visitors’ protection mechanisms. For example, Israel is one of the countries from where the tourist inflows have considerably increased, but in previous years, Israeli tourists were visiting Georgia for only sightseeing, but now you will often hear from them how they were cheated in terms of currency exchange rate in Tbilisi or how much they had to pay to taxi driver. The mentioned facts and similar  image violating activities may be heard from many  visitors from other countries.

This problem is not a new one. However, as a rule, the countries that are interested in tourism sector development always make focus on overcoming the mentioned problems. Experience of several countries is very valuable in this respect, including the Israeli experience.

The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business started large-scale campaign last year to introduce the Israeli experience to Georgia, including, popularization of Georgia’s tourism potential and environment, on the one hand, and care for Israeli tourists at the local level.

In the last year and this year, the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business and the Israeli House published two books in Hebrew language that describes Georgia as a tourism country. Lectures are held  on this topic at various pubic centers in Israel. Meetings are held with Israeli tourists, as well as in Tbilisi at Israeli House.

Itsik Moshe, President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business,  says that the business chamber receives various information from many visitors about cheating and inappropriate attitudes.  One of the tourists supplied a photo to the business chamber taken at Kote Apkhazi street (former Leselidze Street) on July 6, 2016. The photo depicts exchange currency booth that buys one USD for 2.03 GEL from tourists, while on that day the price of one USD was 2.30 GEL (15% difference). There are many cases when tourists ask local residents to negotiate taxi tariffs, in other case they have to pay inadequately high prices.

«It is a very bad tendency when the facts of cheating tourists have multiplied. It is  the state’s responsibility to eradicate the problems. Otherwise, the country may maintain only that category of visitors, who are interested only in adventure tourism. Therefore, I think it will be expedient if Georgia shares the rich experience of Israel that has made the country into a tourism center. I would suggest the government of Georgia to launch large-scale campaign to further promote benevolent attitude towards tourists», Itsik Moshe said and added that this campaign may be carried out under the slogan “Smile to Tourist” and each citizens may be incentivized for demonstrated delicacy (for example, return of lost thing or delivery it to law enforcement offices).

«Each citizen needs stimulus for establishing new relations and culture; and each tourist needs feeling of safety and protection and the country will make tenfold benefits in this way, in terms of financial revenues and international image. And this function may be performed by only the Government», Itsik Moshe said and referred to the sample of ISRAEL that, to his words, suffers from terrorists’ attacks, but the country  has managed to become one of the attractive tourism destinations by creating appropriate conditions for tourists.

“It is desirable to create special office that will listen to complaints of discontent tourists and which will provide correct and adequate reaction”, Itsik Moshe said. These offices should make focus on one problem that foreign tourists meet especially in big cities. This is a group of aggressive beggars that create discomfort to tourists very often and appropriate instances should provide respective reaction to overcome this problem, Itsik Moshe said.

Tbilisi to Host Forum Dedicated to Hasbara: A New Model of Diplomatic Support towards Israel
22 December 2016

On December 24-25, Tbilisi will host the first International Forum of Hasbara, with the participation of the Israeli official delegation.

The large-scale event is being organized by ‘Israeli House’ in cooperation with the Ambassador of Israel to Georgia, Mr. Shabtai Tsur.

Israeli House will present the results of its three-years of activities on December 24 at the Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi. The Prime Minister of Georgia, George Kvirikashvili, and Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, are to attend.

Israeli House was founded in 2013 on the initiative of the first official Israeli representative in the region, and President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, Itsik Moshe, under the auspices of the Knesset. It aims to make the Israeli Hasbara policy more active abroad and enhance the direct bilateral links with friendly states. Within the framework of Israeli House, official delegations from Israel visited Georgia and conducted fruitful meetings with the governmental authorities of the country.

The pilot project of Israel House has been developed with the support of Hilik Bar, Deputy-Speaker of the Knesset, and David Bitan, Head of the Coalition. Three major results have been achieved:

1. An international model of Hasbara has been created which can be used in other countries;

2. The strengthening of relations with Georgia has become a pattern of Israel's relations with other countries;

3. After three-years of active mutual effort, relations between Georgia and Israel have been shaped in the appropriate governmental format.

On the second day of the delegation's visit, a forum dedicated to Hasbara and contemporary challenges faced by Israel on the international stage and in the greater Middle East will be conducted at Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi. Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, and Hilik Bar will speak, while the leaders of Israel's right-wing and left-wing forces will present their different visions of peace and neighborhood state policy.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, is also expected to give a speech at the forum.

The Israeli delegation, consisting of Deputy-speakers, the Deputy Foreign Minister, leader of the ruling coalition, and representatives of the business, academic and media spheres, will also be in attendance at the forum.

Two Large Scale Events on 24-25 December in Tbilisi to Support Israel Diplomacy
21 December 2016

On 24-25 December, Israel official delegation will take part in the event to celebrate Hanukkah and Tbilisi will also host First International Hasbara Forum with the support of Israel Diplomacy.

Representative delegation from Israel will visit Tbilisi on 23 December and these will be: The vice-speakers of Parliament Hilik Bar and Tali Ploskov, the head of parliament government coalition David Bitan, Israel Deputee Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, journalists of Israel’s leading TV channels and information agencies, Washington Post analyst, businessmen , as well as Israel supporting organizations in Europe and wold Jews leaders from Germany, Canada, Australia and Poland.

The organizer of the large-scale events is “Israel house”, with the support of Jewish Embassy. Israel House will have a presentation of work results after 3 years of working in Opera State Theater.

Israel house was created 3 years ago with the initiative of president of Georgian-Israel Business chamber, Itsik Moshe and aimed to promote Hasbara and deepen the relations between two countries. With the support of Israel house, the representatives of Jewish government, business, High Technology, Tourism Industry and Media visited Georgia.

The pilot project of Israel House was implemented with the support of Parliament vice-speaker Hilik Bar and the head of government coalition, Davit Bitan.

 

As the founder of Israel House, Itsik Moshe noted, there have been three outcomes: Hasbara implementation international model was created which will  also work in other countries, strengthening relations with Georgia has become an example for relations with other partner countries and finally, after 3 years of work, Georgian-Jewish relations are in the right format. 

With the participation of Israel delegation, the first large-scale event is planned on 24th of December at 19.30 in Opera State House, where they will celebration Jewish holiday Hanukkah and light the first hanukkah candle.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the head of parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, parliamentarians and Jewish ambassador, Shabtai Tsur will attend the event. The Jewish ambassador will make a speech in front of the audience. Georgian singer will perform Jewish compositions and a famous pianist Eliso Bolkvadze will play classical music.

Israel delegation visit in hotel “Biltmore” will start at 09.00 and will be concerning Israel international challenges, Hasbara and the forum of Near East issues. The Minister of foreign affairs, Tsipi Khotovely and vice-speaker Khilk Bar will have a report about the Israel politics of neighbouring countries.

 

During the visit in Tbilisi, it is planned that Georgian and Israel delegation will open 3 million Jewish investment project construction together.

At the end of the visit, there will be final meeting with Jewish Ambassador, Shabtay Tsur.

Georgian Tourism Industry Becoming Interesting for Jews Worldwide
10 August 2017

Interview

We spoke to Itsik Moshe, the President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, about the Georgian tourism sector and the growing interest of the Jewish community in visiting the country.

“Positive shifts can be observed in many directions,” Moshe tells us. “The following data is particularly interesting: firstly, there is a 55 percent increase in the number tourists from Israel compared to 2016 and a 43.6 percent increase only in the first half of 2017. The number of direct flights from Israel exceeds 80 per month in summer and the data only of June 2017 suggests that there is already a 37 percent increase in this direction as well. The number of airlines operating in the Georgian market and the number of annual international flights has also increased significantly”.

He goes on to tell us that the interest of the Jewish investors from various countries worldwide towards the Georgian tourism industry, real estate and hotel business is also increasing on a daily basis. The increase of demand for high class 5+ star hotels and boutique hotels, as well as 3-star hotels, can be observed.

 

What projects are executed by the member companies and investors that come through your organization?

Our member companies are actively working in the hotel direction: the construction of Rixos Tbilisi is in its final phase with internal facing works underway. However, allegedly it will not be opened until the construction of the neighboring Panorama Tbilisi facade works are over; the high standard Rustaveli Boutique Hotel, with its original theme, is already functioning and has been handed over for management to a Georgian company; Final Construction permit for Art Hotel, another high-level boutique hotel/museum in the bath district, has already been granted and the construction works will start as soon as the investors group is formatted; and one of the largest scale projects, Kass Boutique Hotel Group’s Hotel Gergeti, is to open in 2019. Currently, we are leading the negotiations with Akoris Group in Tbilisi to open the 3-star hotel Ibis Red by the dry bridge, following on from the group opening the Ibis Styles Tbilisi Center Hotel this year.

 

How will the hotel boom reflect on the local tourism industry? Is Georgia attractive in terms of tourism for the Jewish community worldwide?

Let us begin with the raw numbers – in a period of two years there will be a shortage of about 5000 hotel rooms compared to the demand; a new trend of development of new directions in tourism can be observed; cultural tours are becoming especially important. Israeli House, with the Council of Europe and its Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ) and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, are starting a new project: European Route of Jewish Heritage in Georgia, the presentation of this tour took place on June 27 in Jerusalem, while Georgian society will get acquainted with it on September 5 in the hall of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. The project will be another step towards strengthening the relations of Georgia with the world’s Jewish community, which will be positivity reflected on the number of Jewish tourists coming from Israel as well as the rest of the world.

George Bernstein

Arabic-Jewish Competition on Geo Market Increasing Investments
17 August 2017

Mere days have passed since the Chamber of Business announced the increasing interest of businessmen from the world’s Jewish community in Georgia’s hotel sector, and now a real estate agency has added to the great news by claiming that the data of recent years shows a much larger volume of investment is also coming from Arabic countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc.), as well as from Arabs living in Israel.

Arabic investments are made in Tbilisi and Georgian regions for the construction of fashionable villas. Thus, representatives of large investment groups are visiting Georgia on a weekly basis.

Notably, hotel Millennium Biltmore was an investment of $140 million. Owner of the hotel, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of the UAE, said that he has already invested $250 million in the Georgian economy. Under his ownership is the largest Arabic investment company Dabi Group, which also owns Terra Bank in Georgia.

Ras al-Khaimah Emirate has made a $70 million investment in one of Tbilisi’s hotel attractions, the five star hotel Sheraton Metekhi Palace, where an additional of $25 million worth of reconstruction is underway.

The Georgian government declared that there is growing interest not only in hotel investment, but in tourism as well, which is proved by the increased number of flights. Moreover, Turkish investments in construction and hotel management are also notable, among them famous brands like Rixos Borjomi and Rixos Tbilisi.

Itsik Moshe, President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, stated last week that Jewish investments in Georgia are worth approximately $500 million and are mainly concentrated in the real estate business and tourism. Apart from investments, Jews were the first to introduce modern technologies, management and many other innovations, which Georgian companies are implementing successfully to this day. Of late, the focus has shifted towards three-star and high level boutique hotels, for example the one constructed on Gergeti Street in Tbilisi.

Moshe also pointed to the fact that businessmen and Sheikhs from Arabic countries, as well as other regions and countries, coming to Georgia is a positive trend, which proves Georgia to be a “democratic, developed and high-potential country which is becoming more attractive on the international arena”.

It is the prerogative of the Georgian side to ensure equal openness of the market to investors from all backgrounds. The Chamber Head further highlights that, based on the Jewish practice and attitude of the local Jews, according to his information, Jewish businessmen do not exclude partnership with representatives of pro-European Arabic countries working in the hotel field in Georgia.

Moshe remembers that at a meeting of the Peace Commission of Knesett,, where he was present as an invited member, he came out with the initiative to get Arab Sheikhs and leading Jewish companies to begin joint investment projects in Gaza in order to increase trust. He also believes the Israeli –Arabic conflict will be peacefully regulated and that in many fields, including tourism, healthy competitiveness will arise. Led by Israeli House, an international press conference is planned to be held in Georgia about the issue of regulating the Israeli-Arabic conflict. Joint companies can play a major role in this process.

Businessman Gidon Hackmi, who worked in Europe for years, stated that representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jews in Europe have successful partnerships in the technology and business fields. For example, the Jewish Sapra Bank has high trustworthiness among Sheikhs from the Persian Gulf who have their bank accounts there.

Former General Manager of the international Turkish network of Rixos Hotels, Gokhan Sarper, has wide experience in working in Persian Gulf countries and has managed Rixos in the said region, where it became one of the most successful brands. He believes that there are many examples of successful partnerships between local companies and Jewish investors in Turkey and he sees enormous potential in this sense in Georgia. Notably, it is thanks to Gokhan Sarper that Rixos entered the Georgian market.

George Bernstein

New Old Abanotubani – Another Israeli Investment In Hospitality
14 December 2017

The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business and “Israel House” organized a visit to Tbilisi for a delegation from Israel, including members of the Knesset and Israel-Georgia Parliamentary friendship group, representatives of business circles, analysts and leading Israeli journalists.

The visit aims to popularize and encourage Georgian-Israeli bilateral connections.

A number of delegation members will attend the opening of a construction of a 63-room modern hotel being built through Israeli investment, in Tbilisi, on Mirza Shapi Street. The Mayor of Tbilisi Kakhi Kaladze and the head National Tourism Administration of Georgia will participate in opening ceremony.

The hotel is to include an art gallery and cafes, and the main beauty of the hotel will be the façade, which is designed in the style of Georgian ornamental carpet.

The net worth of said construction project is $12 million and through it Tbilisi will have a high-class hotel in a historical district.

This is the largest project of recent years by Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business. The special emphasis on Georgia’s investment potential have been made during the visit of Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, to Israel, which took place in October.

“Israeli House” Founder and Chairman, Itsik Moshe, says that Israel businessmen are becoming more and more interested in Georgia, aided through the help of is business-friendly environment and high number of tourists visiting from Israel.

The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business is focused on broadening Georgia-Israel economical connections. “We are working to attract more people from Israel. The project on Mirza Shapi Street is also part of this plan. I hope the [Georgian] government will do more, so that already successful existent projects will become an example for other businesses,” Moshe said.

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Following Irakli Kobakhidze’s Visit, Israel Starts Cooperation Series with Georgia
11 December 2017

Chairperson of Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze met the President of Israel and Speaker of the Knesset in October this year. The visit held in Israel was an important step towards strengthening cooperation between Israel and Georgia.

Tbilisi is to now host two delegations from Israel on December 14, led by the Georgia-Israeli Chamber of Business and ‘Israeli House’ . Members of the delegation are Georgian partnership group deputies, business circles, analysts and leading mass media journalists from Israel. The visit is organized by ‘Israeli House’ and aims to popularize Georgia and endorse bilateral ties between the two nations. The main issues of the meeting are to be hasbara, education and youth.

The Israeli delegation will visit a Georgian Parliament Library exhibition, which is also organized by ‘Israeli House,’ attend the opening of the first Hebrew Library in Georgia and enjoy a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony, which will be followed by a concert of Jewish songs sung by Georgian singers.

Library ‘Sarah’s fund,’ in cooperation with ‘Israeli House,’ has already bought several hundred books in Hebrew, English and Russian. The main theme of the literature in the library is Israel: from ancient to modern history, Zionism, Judaism, Theology, Foreign Affairs of Israel, and high school and university material for learning Ivrit. Around 500 books will be added later. It is also part of the agreement to create a Georgian Library in Israel.

Agreements between Israel and Georgia will also be signed in the National Library. The delegation will meet the Chairperson of Parliament of Georgia.

On December 17, some members of the delegation will attend the opening of the construction of a new modern hotel which is made up of art galleries, cafes and a façade decorated as a Georgian ornamented carpet.

The net worth of said construction project is $12 million and through it Tbilisi will have a high class hotel in a historical district.

‘Israeli House’ Founder and Chair, Itsik Moshe, believes that this occasion has tremendous importance in the history of Georgia-Israeli partnership. “We are summing up the last 25 years and planning future connections in numerous spheres,” he said. “Israeli House is actively working on giving a realistic idea of Israel to Georgian society. We aim to improve awareness and I believe that our partnership will be productive in various directions and, first of all, in mutual understanding, economic ties and sharing best experiences”.