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Georgia: Seeking to Bring Back the Soviet-Era Spa Experience

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For decades under the Soviet Union, sanatoriums in Tskaltubo provided thermal treatment to the ill and relaxation for the elite.

Known for its pristine mountain air and curative waters, the South Caucasus country of Georgia used to be closely associated during the Soviet era with doctor-prescribed rest and relaxation.

The tumult of two decades of independence eroded the country’s reputation as a place to relax and rejuvenate. But these days, policymakers and some investors are eyeing the country’s aging spas as an opportunity to gain a share of the $2-trillion global spa-and-wellness market.

“If Turkey has well-developed seaside resorts, we have spa resorts like Abastumani, or Borjomi,  or Sairme, or Tsqaltubo,” asserted Georgian real-estate investor Lasha Papashvili, naming some of the country’s most popular alpine resorts.

In Abastumani, one of the country’s oldest health-resort destinations, located in southwestern Georgia, the air is reputed to ease the symptoms of asthma, bronchial infections and even tuberculosis. In Tsqaltubo, a tiny hamlet tucked into the foothills of western Georgia, the slightly radioactive thermal waters have been credited with curing everything from infertility to paralysis.

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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.

Georgia: Seeking to Bring Back the Soviet-Era Spa Experience

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