3. Cultural and creative sectors
Last update: February, 2022
Cultural heritage has always been of great importance and pride in Georgia.
The main body responsible for the protection of cultural heritage is the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth in particular the General Inspection for Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection (new Department) and the National Agency for Cultural Heritage of Georgia. Some responsibilities are also allocated to the National Committee of UNESCO under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The National Agency for Cultural Heritage of Georgia (established in 2008) has been constituted on the basis of the existing complex monuments of national and global significance. It represents their totality and is their legal successor. 15 complex monuments of national and world value are incorporated in the new agency. The register of tangible monuments of culture includes 7 915 items, and the register of intangible monuments of culture includes 65 items.
Georgia became a plenipotentiary member of UNESCO on the 7th of October 1992. 3 monuments of Georgian cultural heritage are included on the World Heritage List of UNESCO (Historic Monuments of Mtskheta, Gelati Monastery, Upper Svaneti) and 3 Georgian elements are registered in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (Georgian polyphonic singing, the Ancient Georgian traditional Qvevri wine-making method, the living culture of the three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet).
The following nominations from Georgia have been inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register: Georgian Manuscripts of Byzantine Era, “Description of Georgian Kingdom” and “Geographical Atlas” by Vakhushti Bagrationi, Manuscripts of “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” by Shota Rustaveli, Ancient manuscripts preserved in the National Archives of Georgia, and The Tetraevangelion-palimpsest.
One of the most difficult problems is the preservation of monuments in the occupied territories. In this context, in late 2012, the Georgian National Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) was established.
Georgia is actively involved in the work of UNESCO for the protection of cultural property in case of armed conflict. The country was a member of the Committee created by the Organization on this matter from 2013 to 2017.
Another thorny issue is the protection of the Georgian cultural heritage outside Georgia, namely, on the territory of Turkey, in the historical province of Tao-Klarjeti where old Georgian cathedrals are located and require restoration. The negotiations with the government of Turkey started in 2005 are underway and quite successful.
Archaeological excavations and conservation at the Ghalia Georgian Monastery in the Republic of Cyprus carried out since 2006 were successfully completed. In addition, the cooperation with the Russian Federation State Film Fund “Gosfilmofond” to transfer Georgian films produced in 1916-1990 started in 2015 and is underway.
Georgia actively cooperates with international partners - the Council of Europe (PP2), the European Commission (TWINNING), ICROM, ICOM, ICOMOS, IUCN, and the European Heritage Network.
In 2020 the museum system of Georgia included 249 museums of various profiles, which are subordinated to and financed from different levels of authority. Since the Rose Revolution, museum reform has been a priority; in particular, improvements in museum administration have been stipulated. A first step was the creation of the National Museum of Georgia (30.12.2004). According to 2020 data, 18 museums subordinate to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, including the Georgian National Museum - which includes 12 museums, 1 national gallery, 4 house-museums and 2 scientific research centres.
In 2021, the new Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth put the Shalva Amiranashvili Art Museum, part of the National Museum, under an emergency management regime for reconstruction and safe transfer of funds (including the National Treasury), which provoked mixed reactions in the expert community.
In recent years, the number of private museums have increased, for example, the Holoseum - AudioVisual Museum was opened in Tbilisi, one of the patrons of which is JSC Bank of Georgia.
In the strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks
Cultural Heritage aim to:
- Introduce the Code on Cultural Heritage in compliance with ratified international conventions, in order to accomplish the harmonization of existing legislation concerning cultural heritage and ensure that all relevant aspects are adequately considered;
- Prepare new candidates from the intangible, tangible and natural heritage for submission to the UNESCO;
- Elaborate and reinforce different measures for safeguarding and monitoring cultural heritage in occupied territories;
- Digitalise and develop cataloguing of intangible and tangible cultural heritage for protection purposes and in order to increase public accessibility;
- Facilitate and promote scientific and research activities regarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Georgia and beyond its borders;
- Support archaeological fieldwork linked to cultural heritage and encourage the application of new technologies for research;
- Promote Georgian cultural heritage as the heritage of all mankind through different mechanisms;
- Ensure that the conservation of cultural heritage follows an integrated conservation approach and that urban, spatial and regional development plans take into consideration the protection of buildings, architectural ensembles, cultural heritage protection zones and landscapes of cultural value;
- Protect intangible cultural heritage, facilitate revitalization and practicing of endangered forms of intangible cultural heritage and raise public awareness;
- Support research and safeguard the Kartvelian languages (Georgian, Mingrelian, Laz, Svan) and tones, Georgian scripts and alphabet;
- Protect and develop endangered languages, especially the Abkhazian language, as a part of Georgian identity and intangible cultural heritage.
- Support local and international collaboration in order to share professional knowledge and museum practice and develop training programmes for museum workers;
- Support new initiatives in order to promote museums
- Support the protection and enrichment of Georgian museums’ collections in order to safeguard cultural heritage and to prevent the outflow of cultural heritage from the State;
- Encourage museums to apply new technologies, innovative approaches, interactive e-services, to develop and use diverse software applications, in collaboration with other museums, cultural institutions, universities and the business sector;
- Establish and develop virtual museums by means of digitizing museum collections and use of appropriate internet platforms, in order to encourage research, improve public accessibility, attract visitors and raise international awareness;
- Support the development of museums into public spaces, into institutions of educational and research purpose by implementing different programmes, including children and youth programmes;
- Support the establishment and development of thematic museums;
- Support efforts by the museums to set up and develop restoration centres of higher standard that comply with international criteria.
Last update: February, 2022
Against the relatively favorable background of development in the sphere of cultural heritage, the situation for libraries and archives is completely inadequate. The present system includes 824 libraries and their number is decreasing day by day (in comparison, in the Soviet period, the number of operating libraries was about 8 000).
Table #2: Public and universal libraries in Georgia, 2001-2008
|Public and universal |
libraries (in units)
|2 170||2 160||2 123||2 090||2 056||1726||672||824|
|Quantity of readers|
|2 311.3||1 625.9||1 421.3||1 528.9||1 556.1||732.1||---||778.3|
|Average quantity of readers (per library)||1 065.1||752.7||669.5||731.5||761.7||424.2||---||945|
|Quantity of copies |
|Quantity of workers |
|4 278||4 044||3 819||3 730||3 727||3 408||N/A||N/A|
Note: Not including the data on Adjara Autonomous Republic.
Since 2009, the information about libraries has no longer been available from administrative sources.
Most of the libraries in Georgia are accountable to the local authorities. School libraries (2 100 units) are accountable to the Ministry of Education and Science. The financing of the library sphere is the weakest and the librarian's salary is one of the lowest nationwide. This has resulted in the outflow of personnel and complicates the inflow of new high-skilled workers.
The National Library conducted library, bibliographic and scientific-research activities; centralized the collection and analyzed statistical data; aids state protection in the field of libraries; identified policy for training-retraining appropriate human resources; and extended the electronic library and diversified the proposed services.
The preservation of archival cultural heritage is vested in the National Book Chamber, which holds more than 1 600 000 titles. The Chamber's role is to prepare the national bibliography and to store, in the archives, all editions dedicated to the culture, history and achievements of Georgia.
The National Archive Fund, which was established for the extended use and improvement of the centralized register of documents created by the state authorities, is also engaged in the protection of cultural heritage (the State Department of Archives under the Ministry of Justice).
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), `Chapter III: Sector-specific Task Libraries and Archives, aims to:
- Improve the legal and administrative regulation of libraries, design standards and certification guidelines of the post of librarian; enforce coordination between stakeholders and designate involved responsibilities;
- Facilitate the growth of library collections and service improvements, support the introduction and application of innovative approaches and new technologies (e.g. mobile libraries);
- Support libraries in the digitization of their collections and archive materials, in the development of e-libraries, which shall allow an increase in public access to more literature and shall facilitate the transformation of libraries into on-line learning centres;
- Develop libraries into multifunctional institutions in collaboration with different stakeholders (e.g., the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia, the Service Development Agency, the Administration of the President of Georgia, municipalities, the Association of Libraries, etc.), in order to ensure that libraries, along with traditional functions, respond to current challenges by providing opportunities for learning, education, socializing and improve accessibility to public services;
- Support libraries in designing programmes for the development of reading habits and promotion of literacy, in order to develop a more educated public;
- Establish an integrated reserve of various types of national literature and intellectual material (manuscripts, music records and music scores, etc.) and ensure public access to these materials;
- Support archives in digitizing their collections and materials, and in developing other measures in order to safeguard, protect cultural property and to increase public access;
- Encourage growing collaboration between archives, public, educational, research and other organizations, implement joint projects and events for raising awareness about cultural property and materials reserved in archives and for encouraging their application in practice.
Last update: February, 2022
According to data from 2022, there are 52 theatres in Georgia, including 2 opera and ballet theatres, 41 drama theatres, a musical comedy theatre and miniature theatres, 2 youth theatres, 7 puppet theatres.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth manages 29 theatres and also N(N)LT - the Centre for the Development of Contemporary Theatre Art. The rest of the theatres are either under municipal jurisdiction or belong to the private or nongovernmental sector.
Over the years, the Cartu Charitable Foundation has restored, reconstructed and equipped theatres (Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Rustaveli National Theatre, Marjanishvili Theatre, Batumi Drama Theatre, A. Griboedov Russian Drama Theatre, and Ozurgeti Theatre. Rehabilitation of the P. Adamian Armenian Theatre is underway).
According to the 2017 UNESCO CULTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS / Georgia’s Analytical and Technical Report: “The result of the distribution of cultural infrastructure in Georgia according to CDIS is 0.312. The result of 0.312 is low for the average number of Museums, Libraries and Exhibition venues dedicated to the performing arts for all of Georgia.” https://www.culturepartnership.eu/upload/editor/2017/Policy%20Briefs/CDIS%20Georgia%20Analytical%20and%20Technical%20Report.pdf
6 theatrical festivals are held in Georgia. Notable among them are Tbilisi International Festival of Theater and GIFT - Georgian International Festival of Arts in Tbilisi.
In 2021, 820 000 GEL (227 777 EUR) were allocated for the priority area “Support for the Development of Georgian Theatre and Theatrical Arts” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth. This area consists of 6 competition and 1 non-competition sub-programmes.
In May 2021, in order to promote the development of the theatre sector, a memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia and the Theatre Society, in which the parties have defined the basic principles of theatre reform to he carried out in the theatre sphere. They will work on identifying the issues related to the field of theatre to be included in the draft Code of Culture, as well as in the theatre development programmes, in human resource strengthening and implementation of mechanisms that meet modern challenges and ensure access to the theatre arts, as well as the financial and creative sustainability of theatres.
The Memorandum also provides for consultations with the Ministry in the process of selecting candidates for artistic directors of state professional theatres subordinating to the Ministry.
The rule for selecting the artistic directors of state theatres, as well as the Law on Professional Theaters adopted in 2013, is the subject of heated discussions and goes beyond professional issues, as it has a political background.
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks in the Performing Arts aims to:
- Improve the legal and regulatory framework of the performing arts sector in order to raise administrative effectiveness and quality across the sector;
- Support the development and popularization of the national dramaturgy (e.g. consider the integration of new works by contemporary Georgian playwrights into the repertoire of national theatres, introduce thematic competitions in order to reveal outstanding new plays, and encourage performing arts criticism, etc.);
- To advance the professional level of performing arts by facilitating the organization of different events, festivals, master-classes. To also support the participation of Georgian actors, directors, playwrights, choreographers, etc. in international events (competitions, festivals, residencies and etc.);
- Improve educational standards and teaching methodologies, legal and administrative regulations for instructors’ licenses and certification procedures in order to develop a continuous and adapted system of choreographic education;
- Facilitate the betterment of the learning environment (study equipment and other materials) in the institutions of choreographic education;
- Support the development of circus art by ensuring that circus education is adequately represented in the wider system of professional education and by providing access to necessary facilities.
It should be noted that apart from this chapter in the Culture Strategy 2025, there is no sectoral research-based strategy developed by theatre figures and experts, which is a necessary tool for the development of the field.
Last update: February, 2022
Georgia has a long and great history of fine arts and traditional handicrafts, as evidenced by the frescoes, reliefs and works of fine and applied art preserved in museums.
Support for contemporary art since the 1990s, even with very limited funding, has been a priority for the state. In 1996, the first Tbilisi Biennale of Contemporary Art was held. The art scene of independent Georgia sought to restore Tbilisi as a hub of contemporary art, which it held as the Caucasus centre of modernist bohemia in the early twentieth century.
Since the late 1990s, contemporary art activities have shifted from public museum spaces to the private and non-governmental sectors.
Today, there is one state-funded national gallery in Georgia, which was part of the National Museum until 2021. Accurate statistics on private art galleries are not available.
In 2021, 450 920 GEL (110 000 EUR) were allocated for the priority area “Promoting the Development of Fine and Contemporary Art” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth. Important non-commercial projects from the non-competition sub-program are:
- Artisterium - Tbilisi International Contemporary Art Exhibition (established in 2008)
- Fest i Nova - The Zdanevich Brothers’ International Festival of Contemporary Art
- Furnishing museum funds with new and contemporary works of art.
Despite the lack of state promotion, the activity of private galleries in the international art market is increasing day by day. Noteworthy is the presentation of Georgian artists at Sotheby’s and Crossroads art auctions and sales by Baia Gallery and TBC Art Gallery.
TAF - Tbilisi Art Fair is an important player in the exhibition industry. TAF is an international contemporary art market focused largely on galleries and artists from the Black, Caspian and Baltic States. 12 galleries from Georgia are consistently participating in it.
Since 2018, with the support of Adjara Group (a leading Georgian company in the fields of hospitality, lifestyle development and agro production), the N(N)LE Propaganda’s project “Oxygen Contemporary Art Biennale” has been implemented, which initially operated in “Non Fair” format. Since 2020, the exhibition has gained international scale.
The best example of social responsibility and support for culture by the private sector is the creation of multifunctional spaces by the Adjara Group, which have become cultural hubs of Tbilisi (“Stamba”, “Fabrika”). Hotel “Stamba”" also houses the Tbilisi Museum of Photography and Multimedia.
According to the Contemporary Art Market study conducted by the Tbilisi State Academy in 2020: “Because of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, galleries have virtually stopped exhibition programmes in physical spaces and moved to a virtual platform, which contributed to the democratization of contemporary art to some extent.”
Preserving and developing handicraft traditions is also on the agenda of cultural policy. Important kinds of Georgian traditional handicrafts are: Textiles, Ceramics, Metalsmithing, Jewelry-making, Woodcarving, and Enamelling. The development of these industries as part of the creative industry is greatly facilitated by the nongovernmental sector, in particular, the Georgian Craft Association and the Georgian Art and Culture Centre (GACC).
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks, includes the development of the Visual arts:
In order to allow the development of an effective visual arts education and improve its quality, advance legal and administrative regulations of visual arts education, designate teaching standards and learning methodologies, etc.;
- To support the development of the institutions of visual arts education;
- To create and develop the system of visual arts schools in order to develop professional skills and thinking;
- To deliver special incentives to encourage artists;
- To support the development of corresponding business models and business skills for the personnel of galleries, curators and arts consultants in order to promote visual arts and stimulate the dynamics of domestic art market;
- To facilitate the organization of periodic events, arts residencies and galleries and encourage participation in international projects in order to raise the interest of international artists and curators towards Georgia;
- To create a multifunctional facility of culture - the museum of contemporary art, in order to ensure national and international promotion of visual arts, its protection and demonstration.
- To develop legislative initiatives, identify artisans, create an integrated public electronic database, develop craft studios, encourage corresponding publications and support the participation in exhibitions and fairs in order to develop Georgian traditional craftsmanship and contribute to its integration into the international market;
- To support the development of sustainable entrepreneurship by studying historical Georgian crafts and by employing the resources of the existing and forgotten traditions;
- To support the realization of training programmes for artisans and the development of distribution networks, in order to ensure the production and sale of high quality products.
Last update: February, 2022
The Culture Strategy 2025 adopted in 2016 defines the cultural and creative industries as follows:: “Cultural and creative industries - The industries producing and distributing goods or services which embody or convey cultural expression, irrespective of the commercial value they may have; also industries in which the product or service contains a substantial element of artistic or creative endeavor. Besides the traditional arts sectors, creative industries encompass the audiovisual sector, advertising, media and broadcasting and etc.”
The Culture Strategy 2025 Task 1.1 refers to the development of mechanisms promoting the so called startup businesses of the creative industries, and “creative incubators” as an example of an instrumental approach in the context of awareness raising and audience development.
And the 6th Strategic Goal deals with the “Creative Industries”:
"Goal: Creative industries represent an important source for job creation, economic growth and innovation; it is a competitive sphere of activity.
Task 6.1.: Creative industries in Georgia have a favorable environment for development: the output of higher quality and competitive products and services has increased.
- Perform mapping of the current state of the creative industries, evaluate their economic importance and potential, in order to design an effective system for the attraction of investments;
- Establish a supplementary public programme – “Creative Georgia” - in order to develop creative industries with different mechanisms;
- Create and strengthen organizations (e.g. Crafts Council) concerned with the business-oriented development of different sub-sectors of culture in order to support professional development, intersectoral dialogue and internationalization of the cultural sector in question;
- Raise the financial power of the creative industries on the one hand by creating sector-specific funding programmes, initiatives and a system of incentives and, on the other hand, by raising awareness about relevant national and international funds and programmes;
- Modernize/create appropriate spaces for creative industries; offer outdated, dysfunctional and unused buildings to creative industries in order to stimulate the materialization of their creative and innovative ideas, revitalize cultural activities and facilitate clustering within the cultural sector and their cooperation with the private sector;
- Execute special programmes to help creative industries develop their business-related skills and vice versa, help businesses expand their creative skills;
- Help the establishment of creative incubators where creative businesses, including start-ups, are offered appropriate spaces and services;
- Support the development of creative industries’ webpages and commercial platforms;
- Encourage the establishment of clusters and networks of creative industries in Georgia and beyond its borders.
Following the Strategy, in 2017 a new state organization LEPL “Creative Georgia” was created under the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the areas of work of which are commercialization of the creative industries sector and supporting its sustainable development. http://creativegeorgia.ge/
In 2016 the Creative Georgia Roadmap for Developing Cultural and Creative Industries in Georgia was elaborated based on the recommendations received in the framework of the series of sub-sectoral round table meetings with representatives of the CCI sector, and under the guidance of the leading EU experts from the EU-EaP Culture and creativity programme.
The Creative Georgia project “Creative Twist - Boosting the cultural and creative industries in Georgia”, funded by the UNESCO International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) that was launched in 2021, is important. The project provides for the following:
- Conduct a research and mapping exercise to measure the social and economic impact of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in order to inform the development of an evidence-based policy;
- Raise awareness of CCIs and their economic dimension;
- Elaborate a medium-term state strategy and action plan for CCIs, identifying the fiscal, legislative and/or policy measures required for their development.“
Other important institutions for the CCIs development are:
Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency/GITA (founded in 2014) which supports initiatives to create innovative ecosystems. These are: Game Jam, Innovation Week, INNOV-A-THON Tbilisi, “Innovation in Architecture” and others.
In 2016, GITA established the National Network of Innovation Centres “Technology Park Georgia” in Tbilisi.
Also, in 2016 the JSC Partnership Fund’s programme Startup Georgia promoting innovative business was launched jointly with GITA. A small number of cultural projects is supported by this programme.
The agency “Produce in Georgia” is established under the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. It aims to improve the entrepreneurial environment, develop the private sector, promote exports and attract investment. The Agency, in cooperation with the National Centre for Cinematography, is implementing the programme “Film in Georgia”, which aims to promote Georgia as one of the main locations for shooting Western European films.
Compiling accurate statistics and analysis are essential for the development of CCIs.
In 2015, Culture for Development Indicators for Georgia started. It is an initiative by European Union-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, funded by the European Union. According to the UNESCO CULTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS/Georgia’s Analytical and Technical Report (2017), employment in the cultural sector in Georgia in 2015 made up 5.02% of the total employed. According to the same research, in 2017, CCIs share in the national GDP made up 2.8%.
However, Geostat has not yet fully assessed the creative industries according to the CDIS methodology. The 2016 report of the Georgian Business Agency “Bia” states that the active companies in the field of culture and art make up only 0.8% of the business database. It should be noted that this component does not include the architecture industry.
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, as a prerequisite for the effective development of CCIs, is considered by the state and the private sector.
In this context, it is noteworthy that in January 2017, a special interagency committee for the development of cultural strategy was set up, consisting of representatives of various ministries and autonomous republics. This working group coordinates the development of CCIs in Georgia.
There are examples of successful collaboration between professionals within the sector.
The establishment of the Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association (GPBA) was followed by various studies and activities that laid the foundation for a steadily growing industry.
The number of local centres of the International Impact Hub Network is increasing (“Fabrika 40/Impact Hub Tbilisi”, “Stamba”, “Radio City” (under construction) - all are financed by the company Adjara Group). These hubs integrate the common working spaces with workshops and shops and hospitality facilities in the old rehabilitated industrial buildings.
The development of CCIs is greatly facilitated by online media; for example, Artarea TV which has been operating since 2012 focuses on art, culture and creative content.Festivals are attracting attention in terms of professional development and promotion of this sector. Festivals are creating the image of the country, have a direct and indirect economic impact and increase quality cultural tourism.
Last update: February, 2022
According to the Georgian Book Market Survey conducted by LEPL Georgian National Book Centre in 2013-2015: “By 2015, about 100 publishing houses were registered in Georgia, of which 55 were active publishers, most of them were small businesses.
In 2013-2015, the largest share of revenues received by publishing houses came from sales of fiction. Editions and sale of academic/professional literature (20%), children’s literature (11%) and supporting textbooks (9%) are the most profitable after fiction for publishing houses.”
According to the Geostat data, the total circulation of books and brochures published in 2016 was 3.1 million copies, and the circulation of published magazines - 27.8 million copies. There is no data for subsequent years.
In recent years, the number of printed newspapers has sharply decreased: in 2016 there were 317 newspapers, in 2017 - 218, in 2018 -175, in 2019- 177 and in 2020 - only 98. Such a decline is due to the sharp increase in consumption of electronic publications and social networks.
About 80% of the book publishers registered in Georgia are members of the NNLE Georgia Publishers and Booksellers Association. The Association was founded in 1996. (http://www.gpba.ge/ ) and it defines and protects the interests and copyright in the book sector and freedom in publishing. The Association has developed a code of professional ethics as well as legislation to improve the book sector.
In 1997 the Association held the first Tbilisi Book Festival, which has become annual since 2000 and is the largest international book fair in Georgia.
There are also other local book fairs: Tbilisi Book Days, Book and Music, New Year Book Festival, Autumn Book Festival, Tbilisi Book Fair, New Year Book Fair, and International Book Day.
The largest forum for the international popularization of Georgian literature and books is the Frankfurt Book Fair, where the Georgian national stand has been presented since 2007. In 2018, Georgia was represented at the Frankfurt Book Fair as an honorary guest.
Tbilisi is the World Book Capital (UNESCO) from April 23, 2021 for a year.
The Tax Code of Georgia specifies some preferences for the importation of scientific, creative editions and fiction, books and periodicals where the authors are citizens of Georgia as well as for the importation of Georgian classics published abroad. Guidelines are also set for the distribution, import, sale and printing of periodicals and fiction. The state supports publishing activities through governmental programmes.
In 2021, 900 000 GEL was allocated for the priority area “Promotion of Georgian Books and Literature” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
LEPL Writers’ House and LEPL Creative Georgia are the state organizations supporting the development of literature and creativity of writers with this funding through various literary competitions.
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks lists priorities for Literature and Publishing:
- In order to develop reading habits/skills and literacy of the public, particularly among children and youth, and promote literature in general, it is important to work with different organizations (e.g.: the National Parliamentary Library, the Writers’ House, the Literature Museum, the Service Development Agency, etc.) and support special projects and events;
- For the protection and development of national literature, including literary heritage, to setup necessary mechanisms and a convenient environment to create, publish and translate new works and also make them accessible; introduce residency programmes for Georgian writers;
- Support participation in international events, such as festivals, exhibitions and competitions in order to develop and ensure international promotion of Georgian literature;
- Sustain the teaching of creative writing at all levels of education and encourage the development of literature studies and criticism;
- Support the development of children's literature through special funding mechanisms;
- Support the translation of Georgian literature into other languages and vice-versa; provide training programmes for the translators of the Georgian literature and develop professional networks of translators;
- In order to ensure the development of print distribution networks, to study the ocal market and in accordance with international best practices, to elaborate measures for encouraging book quality control and incentives for publishers and distributors;
- Facilitate the production and distribution of different types of (cultural, scientific and technical) literature in order to support publishing companies;
- Taking into consideration innovative approaches and new technologies, to elaborate special training programmes, in order to develop, distribute and promote e-books.
Last update: February, 2022
In 2001, in order to rescue the cinema industry, the Ministry of Culture established the National Film Centre which, to some extent, drove the reforms in the film sphere. The Georgian National Cinematography Centre, as a distanced organization, distributes state funding and operates as an in-gatherer and supporter of this industry. Its work is also crucial in strengthening international ties and promoting joint production.
To promote the film industry, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia initiated the amendment to the Tax Code of Georgia which provided that producers that obtain funding from the National Film Centre will be charged income tax only after the release of a film. Amendments to the Tax Code came into effect on 1 January 2015 in the form of additions to paragraphs 65, 66, 67 of Article 309 under which 20% of qualified expenses from the film production costs are returned to the production company; in addition, 2-5% of qualified expenses are reimbursed for the promotion component.
The situation in the film distribution network is poor. Only 4-5 cinema theatres in Georgia meet modern standards. One of the main problems of cinema halls is the piracy releases in private TV companies, despite the active work of the Georgian National Communications Committee. Another issue of concern is the dominance of American films which must be addressed by developing and propagating Georgian national and European cinema with the help of public television companies.
Georgia became a member of Eurimages in 2011. During these years, the Georgian Film Centre has supported 17 Georgian-foreign co-productions, and 3 322 322 EUR have been issued to finance Georgian projects.
The number of Georgian films has increased significantly in international forums and festivals: Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno, and others.
Among 7 international festivals in Georgia, the Tbilisi International Film Festival is important.
In 2021, 973 000 GEL was allocated for the priority area “Promotion of Georgian Cinema” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Among Georgian film producers, JSC Georgian Film is the largest film production company in Georgia, which has 100 years of filmmaking history.
The audiovisual services industry is developing rapidly in Georgia. For example, POSTRED, a Tbilisi-based post-production film company founded in 2015, already collaborates with Netflix, A24, BBC, and Paramount.
The computer games industry is also growing in Georgia. It is noteworthy that state support in this area started with creation of a simulation game for the police. In summer 2010, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia initiated an innovative project aimed at the promotion and development of the gaming industry in Georgia. Within this Ministry, a special studio has been created to work on 3D games technology.
In 2021, 150 000 GEL were allocated for the creation of a computer game promoting Georgian culture, history and mythology in the priority area of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Today, various successful companies operate in this market, and an important role for the development of the field is given to the training of professional staff in such a leading organization as the Computer and Mobile Games Laboratory of Ilia State University (GAMELAB ILIAUNI).
Unlike the film and computer games industry, the cultural content of Georgian media is rather uniform. The total annual airtime of local television feature programmes is divided as follows: according to 2016 data, in the Georgian Public Broadcaster's programmes, feature programmes holds 46%, of which 37% (3051.8 hours) are local productions, 8% (657.7 Hours) - co-productions, and 54% (4439.8 hours) - international productions. Apart from the Public Broadcaster, only Internet TV Artarea has a large amount of cultural content.
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks, highlights the following priorities for the Audiovisual sector:
- Develop services and professions linked to the production, post-production and distribution of audio-visual content;
- Develop regulatory mechanisms for the audiovisual sector (e.g. box office transparency, designation of age limit, dubbing quality, etc.) by employing best international practices (EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services);
- Promote Georgia’s convenience as a filming location and facilitate international co-production by developing the necessary infrastructure, legislation and system of incentives (cash rebates, tax rebates, credit incentives, insurance etc.);
- Establish the national cinema reserve in order to preserve and organize the film heritage and ensure the public’s accessibility to Georgian and world cinematography;
- Facilitate the development of multifunctional cultural-educational centres and/or of appropriate cinemas and alternative means of screening for the purpose of ensuring film screenings;
- Considering the importance of visual and audio effects for the audiovisual industry in general, to facilitate the mobilization of necessary human and technical resources - to elaborate professional training programmes and a system of incentives; to ensure access to appropriate facilities and equipment and etc.;
- Foster the development of the multi-media and games industry by promoting new business models and simplifying methods for the internationalization of the games industry.
Media and Broadcasting
- Use the potential of the media to advance public awareness about culture, cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue;
- Update laws and regulations and plan mechanisms in order to establish and develop cultural media outlets, encourage regional, private commercial and non-commercial media to produce cultural products and to cover cultural processes;
- Design measures to help the public broadcaster contribute to the creation and distribution of products of cultural importance;
- Produce special public broadcasting programmes, both in the official and ethnic languages, to expand opportunities for ethnic minorities to access the information about cultural processes;
- Support institutions of higher education to develop programmes in cultural journalism and facilitate the participation of journalists working on culture in local and international training programmes;
Sustain critical evaluation of professional activities to enable analysis of cultural life, which shall in return lead to increased public awareness and allow cultural professionals to assess their own work.
Last update: February, 2022
Georgia has a long and rich tradition of musical culture and, in particular, of traditional folk music, which is witnessed by the introduction of Georgian polyphonic singing on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In 2021, 1 170 000 GEL was allocated for the priority area “Promotion of the Development of Georgian Professional Music Art” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, and 378 000 GEL - for the priority area “Promotion of Georgian Folklore”.
In addition to the two opera and ballet theatres, the following LEPLs are state-subordinated, namely:
- LEPL Center for the Protection, Development and Promotion of Classical Music;
- LEPL Georgian National Music Centre;
- LEPL Jansug Kakhidze Musical and Cultural Centre;
- LEPL Anzor Erkomaishvili State Folklore Centre;
- LEPL Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra;
- LEPL Gori Women’s Chamber Choir;
- LEPL Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili Georgian National Ballet State Academic Ensemble;
- LEPL Georgian Folk Song and Dance State Academic Ensemble “Erisioni”;
- LEPL Ensemble “Basiani”;
- LEPL Georgian State Academic Folk Song and Dance Ensemble “Rustavi”.
- LEPL Zakaria Paliashvili Central Ten-Year Music School of Talents;
- LEPL Extracurricular Art Educational Institution - Evgeni Mikeladze St. Tbilisi Central Music School;
- LEPL Extracurricular Art Educational Institution - Rustavi Music School;
- LEPL Extracurricular Art Educational Institution - Telavi Niko Sulkhanishvili Music School;
- LEPL Extracurricular Art Educational Institution - Sokhumi Dimitri Arakishvili Music School;
- LEPL Gori Sulkhan Tsintsadze Music College;
- LEPL Tbilisi Vano Sarajishvili State Conservatory;
There are also folklore ensembles and music schools in each of the municipalities.
Classical music festivals, as well as jazz and electronic music festivals are held in Georgia. Prior to the pandemic, Tbilisi was an electronic music hub in the region, which also contributed to the rapid development of the club industry.
An important role in the musical culture of Georgia is played by folklore, especially polyphony, an important institution of which is the International Centre for the Study of Traditional Polyphony.
The strategic document “Cultural Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks sets the following priorities for Music:
- Improve legal and administrative regulations in order to develop a coherent and continuous system of music education: develop professional performing skills and thinking in parallel with general education and practice in mastering (the instruments) from basic education to higher education; Improve the quality of education (determine teaching standards and methodologies, ensure their implementation into practice, especially in the regions, etc.);
- Support the development of a favorable study environment in music educational institutions;
- Collect, document, publish, and promote the artistic heritage of national professional performers and composers;
- Support and promote national composers;
- Support different events, festivals, competitions and master classes in the sphere of music, especially classical music, in order to ensure the professional development of national composers and music performers, and facilitate the participation of Georgian musicians in various international events;
- Support the development of the music industry by developing new business models, new technology, appropriate professions and services, supporting mergers and coproductions of networks and clusters, and enforcing the protection of intellectual property, develop incentives, etc.
Last update: February, 2022
Architecture/construction is the fastest growing and developing field in Georgia.
In 2016, 1 500 newly registered companies were added to the BIA Business Agency database, of which 1 435 are small, 29 medium and 9 large companies. The majority of newly registered companies by category are Construction Products, Construction and Real Estate - 25% (966).
In the BIA database, the most active companies are registered in the field of construction products, construction - 19.6%. 5 493 businesses in this category can be found on bia.ge.
One of the most influential organizations in the field of architecture is the Union of Architects of Georgia.
In 2021, a memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Culture and the Union of Architects of Georgia. The document envisages cooperation for the protection of cultural heritage, both nationally and internationally. The work is planned in the direction of protection of cultural heritage and artistic monuments, development of modern Georgian architecture and popularization of the achievements.
The most important international forum in the field is the Tbilisi Architecture Biennale, which is funded by Creative Europe, Tbilisi City Hall and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Until 2016, advertising was a growing field. But in 2016 it experienced a sharp decline due to the general crisis.
Television advertising revenues in 2020 amounted to 75.2 million GEL, which is 7.6 million GEL (11%) more than last year. Due to the 2020 parliamentary elections, despite the pandemic crisis, the overall market growth largely resulted from highly paid political advertisements. The total amount of political advertising was 13.9 million GEL.
According to the report of the National Communications Commission:
“The analysis of television advertising revenues in 2020 shows that the largest decrease in revenues from commercial advertising occurred in the second quarter of 2020; it should be noted that it was the period when the pandemic imposed large-scale restrictions in the country and all areas faced new challenges, including both advertisers and broadcasters. It took some time to adapt to the new realities and challenges, and in the third quarter, as the National Communications Commission had predicted, the TV advertising market returned to normal rate, with a 7% increase.”
As for radio broadcasters, in 2020 the advertising revenues of radio broadcasters amounted to 6.8 million GEL, which is 23% less than the same period last year. The decline in radio broadcasters’ advertising revenue is largely due to the pandemic.
At the same time, more and more companies are emerging in the advertising market with their young creative staff who are competitive in the international arena: the first gold at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was brought to Georgia in 2011 by the advertising agency Windfor’s; in 2016, Georgia became the winner in the Young Marketer category.
Batumi, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, hosts the International Black Sea Advertising Festival every year, which promotes the development of the field and creative industries in general.
According to the Culture Strategy 2025, the state policy is aimed at creating incentives for the development of enterprises, including in the fashion and textile sectors.
Tbilisi Fashion Week was first held in 2009 and has become an international platform where fashion professionals and designers working in the region can interact with the media and clients. It presents Tbilisi as the fashion capital, where East meets West, and popularizes Georgia by its art and fashion. In addition to the portfolio of its designers, it is noteworthy that it also facilitates parallel events and organizes shows for professionals around the world. Now Tbilisi Fashion Week is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, which connects this event with other similar events worldwide.
The strategic document “Cultural Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks, sets the following priorities for Architecture:
- Promote architecture as a complex discipline bearing cultural, creative and aesthetic value; on the one hand ensure its institutional and legal position within the cultural sector and on the other hand to consider it as a cultural resource in economic and construction policies;
- Introduce a synchronized policy of spatial planning and cultural heritage protection - to consider the principles of integrated conservation and energy efficiency; to create environmentally-friendly architecture and apply new technologies;
- Follow the principles of good governance when architecture intervenes in the cultural landscape and engage experts, professionals and interest groups in the decision making process;
- Improve legal and administrative regulations, and empower law enforcement in regard to issues connected to spatial planning, relevant expertise and standards and licensing of architects;
- Ensure private sector motivation in order to achieve higher architectural standards of the built environment;
- Help Georgian architects to participate in international architectural competitions and events and promote their participation in experience-sharing programmes with foreign agencies.
- Raise awareness of policymakers, representatives of the business sector and the general public about design as an interdisciplinary sector comprising arts, innovation, creativity, and technology and about its importance in cultural, social, economic and environmental dimension;
- Create integrated platforms for designers, researchers, technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs in order to develop and deliver joint innovative products;
- To accomplish the development and international promotion of the national design sector, empower various sorts of design companies and strengthen their international competitiveness;
- Support research and the use of intangible cultural heritage and national themes and elements in the design industry.
Last update: February, 2022
The abolition of the visa regime with the European Union as a result of the Association Agreement of 2014 allows free movement and exchange for the citizens of Georgia.
Against the background of this liberalization, the government has attracted foreign investment in the country through the platform “Trade with Georgia”, which acts as a kind of “open door” and a popularization stage. According to the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the conditions for attracting investment are mainly simplified procedures, lesser bureaucracy, improvement of the business climate and support for the development of the technical sector.
The state policy in the tourism sphere is pursued by the Georgian National Tourism Administration, a Legal Entity of Public Law, within the system of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, which independently conducts activity by state control.
The Georgian National Tourism Administration reported that the tourism-related services accounted for 6.73% of the national GDP in 2015. However, it is impossible to separate cultural tourism from other types of tourism economic activity.
Georgia has often been praised in the international media for its cuisine, historical heritage, nature, fashion, design and films, and it has become an attractive country for tourists, travellers, culinary fans and wine experts.
According to the 2019 data, popular activities for visitors are:
- Tasting of Georgian wine and cuisine - 80.15%
- Sightseeing - 77.5%
- Visiting nature, landscapes - 34 .1%
- Visiting local culture and art - 25.5%
The number of tourists visiting Georgia reached record levels in the first semester of 2017. Their number exceeded 2.9 million, which was 13.4% more than the previous year. The number of international traveller visits in the fourth quarter of 2019 was 2 120 404, which was 12.1% more than the previous year.
However, in October2021 - the second year of the pandemic - the number of visitors decreased by 71.8% compared to October of 2019.
The share of tourism and related services in the economy was 7.3% according to 2017 data. The pandemic has hampered tourism development and revenues, but infrastructure development has not stopped, allowing the industry to recover rapidly in the post-pandemic period.
Among 1 500 newly registered companies added to the business agency BIA database in 2016, 8% represented the tourism sphere. Among active companies, 4.3% are engaged in tourism.
The state cooperates closely with international organizations to develop tourism. Georgia became the 27th member state of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in 2016.
In 2021, the 10th Consultative Forum of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe was held by the city of Kutaisi. Due to the pandemic, the forum was held online.
The theme of the most important international event was “Resilient and Sustainable Cultural Routes - Innovating Our Way out of the Crisis".
Georgia is currently participating in five certified cultural routes of the Council of Europe:
- The European Route of the Jewish Heritage;
- The Wine Route;
- Prehistoric Rock Art Trails;
- European Route of Historic Thermal Towns;
- European Route of Historic Gardens.
In connection with the opening of domestic tourism in the country in the summer of 2021, the first mobile application of Georgia's cultural routes was launched.
The free mobile application Cultural Routes Georgia, created at the initiative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, is available for both Android and iOS platforms.
In 2021, Georgia became a member of the Executive Board of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2021-2025.
In 2021, 50 000 GEL were allocated for the sub-direction “Development of a special training module in the field of culture for tourist guides” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
The strategic documents “Georgian Tourism Strategy 2025” and “Cultural Strategy 2025” promote Georgian tourism. The Cultural Strategy 2025, Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks - Cultural Tourism prioritises the following:
- Promote and exploit the economic potential of cultural resources (e.g. intangible, tangible and natural heritage, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, traditional holidays, etc.) in terms of encouraging sustainable development of tourism, use this potential to create unique, authentic and internationally competitive tourism experiences;
- Develop training programmes for managers of cultural objects and representatives of the tourism sector about existing trends in tourism markets and tourism marketing, but also about the opportunities to use different cultural resources in tourism development, the economy of cultural tourism, international best practices and other relevant tasks;
- Strengthen coordination between the authorities, representatives of tourism and the creative industries and non-governmental sector in order to allow accumulation of information regarding cultural tourism, statistical data about its economic influence and in order to develop and implement research-based policies;
- Promote public-private partnership in order to develop cultural tourism (e.g. elaborate legislative initiatives, investment packages and partnership schemes, support cultural events of national importance, develop brand packages, participate in support programmes of international donors, etc.);
- Develop local and international cultural routes (guidance and information symbols, paths, etc. for tangible, intangible and natural heritage); Integrate Georgia in transnational cultural routes (e.g. the Europe Cultural Routes programme, UNWTO Silk Road Programme);
- Support the sustainable development of tourism in collaboration with interested organizations in order to limit the negative impact of tourism on monuments of cultural and natural heritage and the environment, and ensure the growth of economic and social benefits for local populations.