The President of Georgia made a comment at the Christmas market in Strasbourg
The President of Georgia thanked the Vice-Mayor of Strasbourg – Navel Rafik, who was personally hosting Mikheil Saakashvili at Gutenberg Square, for providing the Georgian Village to be represented in this square in November-December 2012. In his turn, Navel Rafik also thanked Mikheil Saakashvili for Georgia accepting the invitation of the Strasbourg Mayor’s office. He explained in detail to the Head of State why the Mayor’s office chose our country. According to him, in order for a country to be invited to the International Market it has to have democracy and human rights in compliance with international standards. It should also respect European traditions and it should be attractive for the organizers. In this sense, the organizers and the Mayor’s office considered Georgia an interesting and extraordinary country. He also noted that it would be nice if Georgia presented diverse samples of national art as well as a rich and tasty traditional kitchen.
The President of Georgia made a comment regarding this and noted that Georgia has been given an opportunity to introduce its traditions and its best to the world.
“This is the most important Christmas Market in Europe. Just imagine, every year 3 million people visit this city. Every year they invite a different country as a guest. This year Switzerland is invited and in practically all parts of the city the country is represented by its souvenirs and traditional food. The Strasbourg Mayor’s office chose between the two competing countries for next year – Japan and Georgia. By the way, the most important criteria of the candidate country is the level of human rights. The county must also be interesting. Among many countries, Japan (by the application of Tokyo) and Georgia (by the application of Tbilisi) were the top candidates and we have won. So we are going to “occupy” all of Strasbourg by our production, souvenirs, and dishes. Every region of Georgia should be represented here. Every part of the main square of Strasbourg should be about Georgian regions. There should be Adjara in one part, Svaneti in another, Samegrelo, Imereti and etc in the rest of it. Everybody should present their own dishes here. In 12 months we should have an assortment of Lobio, Khinkali, Tchvishtari, Kubdari, and Borano exhibited here…can you imagine what a big advertisement this is for Georgia? Aside from this, millions of people will read about this and see it on TV. This is a huge deal for Georgia. Strasbourg is the Parliamentary capital of Europe just like Kutaisi will be for Georgia. This is one of the most important tourist centers of Europe and probably the most important one in the winter. Can you imagine how effectively Georgia is entering Europe? I visited this place very often in the 90s. Back then I had a hard time not only imagining this but thinking about it at all. A lot of things surprised me back then but today, a person who has arrived from Georgia is barely impressed. Everything has already changed in our country and it is similar to here. In any case, the fact that Georgia will be represented in this market next year is extremely important for our tourism sector. The fact that we are going to sell a lot of goods is not as important as the fact that our exhibition will be held at the local tourism center. A lot of people will arrive here next year and we will get them interested in our country. They will then visit our country, which means that the number of guests of our country will increase even more. It is truly a great honor and a surprise for me what the Strasbourg Mayor’s office has done. This is a very good gesture because Georgia is entering the very heart of Europe” – stated Mikheil Saakashvili.