Ambassador’s remarks to media at Agriculture panel discussion in Udabno

Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Udabno (April 12)

Q-n about the event

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think we have seen that Georgia has a lot to offer the tourism sector in general, especially in the rural communities and in agro-tourism in particular, and I think this is a wonderful example of it. The launch of the Agrogate.world website, which is going to hook tourists up with tourism opportunities, especially in rural communities, is just an excellent example. And as the tourists start coming in, I think this is the kind of innovative digital platform that is really going to open the way to revive Georgia’s agro-tourism and tourism in general.

Q-n about the meeting with Lelo party representatives and general expectations for the negotiations

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: It is very important that the parties resolve this political crisis. I think they have heard from the Georgian public—that the public expects this to be resolved quickly and soon and for the elected members of parliament to get to work on the challenges that are facing this country: COVID-19, the economy, regional dynamics that are changing – these need the whole of government and the whole of Georgia’s parliament working on them in Georgia’s best interest. The parties continue to talk to each other, and we want to make that possible by facilitating continued dialogue, and I remain confident that these elected members understand what is at stake for their country and will make the hard compromises and decisions that are needed to come to an agreement very soon.

Q-n about the vaccination process in Georgia and Government’s effort to accelerate this process, and how the can economy open up without vaccination

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I would agree that vaccination is very important to open up economies and to allow people to restore some kind of normal life again in contact with their families, their friends, and especially to open up the economy. What we have found as very important is providing people with accurate information about the vaccines and why vaccination is safe and important to fighting this pandemic, to controlling this pandemic. So, I think the more information that is available to the public, the stronger the interest will be in getting vaccinated. Already the numbers here in Georgia are increasing just as we saw happen in the United States and in Europe. So, I am confident that with more information the public will embrace vaccinations. I would just encourage everyone to please, please, please continue to wear your masks, social distance, wash your hands – that is the only way that the pandemic is going to be controlled here, and allow tourists to come and businesses to open up. So, please don’t stop with all these very important precautions.

Q-n about the possibility of having direct flights between Georgia and the United States

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think it would be terrific if there were direct flights.  That is a major undertaking to arrange those, so, I think we will need to revive the talks that were ongoing over a year ago. The market has changed a lot and we have to see how that settles down and whether there is enough demand to warrant direct flights, but I think it would be terrific.