Corona epoc-Georgia Malta and Russia

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

After I got an optimistic picture from Taiwan- that coped the best with the "neighborhood virus" of China-here; i corresponded in long mails with my friends in different countries; all of them are recognized tour guides and i got some amazing insights about Georgia; Russia and Malta; here they come:

Tbilisi Georgia-photo by Daria Kholodilina


Daria Kholodilina is the co-author of the guidebook to Georgian wine regions:link and the founder of the company "Trails and Wines"(www.trailsandwines.com) with her future husband."we had on April, May and June fully booked tours and also in part of September .everything of course was just cancelled"; she explained me and continued "some of the tours are postponed for 2021. we also had to cancel our wedding in coming August…"

Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

besides this frustrating situation ;I don't have any other job, that's why I concentrated on improving my knowledge about Georgian and international wine. soon I will start virtual wine tastings in Tbilisi and some wineries.

what is the overall situation in your country?

Many people are panicking because of job loss.i came from Germany and i put myself under two weeks of quarantine, just in case although i had no symptoms. now two weeks have passed and i am fine but Still I prefer to avoid people

main avenue in Tbilisi-Georgia photo by Daria Kholodilina-

There is no public transportation, but private cars; the shops are closed, very few people at the streets - but quite some cars and delivery scooters. so far the fines are for people who break the quarantine (they came from abroad, or they got infected and they go out or run away). distance is kept almost all the time

turtle lake Tbilisi Georgia- photo by Daria Kholodilina

What kind of curfew you have and the restrictions you must follow?

The curfew is from 9 PM to 6 AM. there are restrictions to enter or leave the following major cities – Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi (From 15 April, 21:00. Period: 10 days) also tightening the rule on indoor and outdoor mass gathering from 10 to 3 persons (exception are grocery stores, pharmacies), restrictions on public transportation (including the subway). the number of passengers in a single vehicle (including taxis) is limited to three. arrangements of checkpoints for the thermal screening of citizensare taken at the entrances of Tbilisi, Gori, Kutaisi, Batumi, Poti, Rustavi, ugdidi, Telavi and Akhaltsikhe, Vani

her dog-photo by Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

A trip to the supermarket is an adventure now. the cafes, restaurants and some food markets are working with online deliveries, but many small businesses experience huge pressure and I'm not sure how many will survive.there is no center of the disease. there is just one concern about very religious people;who violated the law and joined the Easter service massively. they might be the source of an outbreak. we'll see it probably in two weeks. concerning the numbers of the epidemic we are in a good place so far- 399 diagnosed cases and only 4 people who died, luckily. in general the situation is much better than expected; less infected casses compared to EU and USA

photo by Daria Kholodilina-Tbilisi Georgia

Something more about yourself?

I have the WSET 2 certificate in Wines and my husband ;is a trained trekking guide and specialist in route marking. we organize wine and adventure tours. i have a blog in instagram -darikomogzauri and often i get the requests for my activities from there.

www.trailsandwines.com / www.dariko.net / www.vinologue.com/books/georgia

Instagram: @trailsandwines / @darikomogzauri


Mariella Buhagiar Bose is a licensed tourist guide since 1971; approved by the Ministry of tourism of Malta. she works as an independent tour guide.

Where did this crisis found you with your plans?

My first cancellation came on 27 February from a group of South Koreans; who had spent few days in Italy and were coming to visit Malta; on a cruise ship

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

On the first week of March I had a group of Scandinavian travel agents for 3 days and after that every booking I had till the end of April has been cancelled.i had a number of cruise liners already booked, incentive groups, private groups and some journalists/tour operators that were invited to Malta by the MTA . the work for me and all the tour guides was reduced to zero

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

What do you do now?

Actually the days passes quickly.i give myself one job per day;that does not normally get done; for example a bookshelf to clean. finally i am getting myself to give some books away; so i put them outside my door with a sign "free books" and they are picked up by people

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I found my Spanish notes from years ago; so i spend an hour a day learning Spanish again. i read many books; watch documentaries and sorting out all kinds of papers and throwing away what i do not need. i started out baking; but because i realize i put on more weight i need to exercise more.not far from where I live there is an unbuilt area; by the sea so sometimes i walk my dog there

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I watch TV for news only if there is a press conference.i watch movies on Netflix and YouTube. i keep in touch with people by WhatsApp (which I do not like very much as I get tired being on the phone after 15 minutes)

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

what is the overall ambiance?

The atmosphere is very calm. pollution is reduced in some areas down by 50 percents. the country is in semi lockdown. for those of us who have not travelled recently; or have not been in contact with anyone who tested positive to Covid-19; we are not under a rule of obligatory quarantine. most of the people choose to stay at home unless they have to go out. people who brake the rules needs to pay a penalty of 3000 Euro

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

I am in quarantine as i am 68 years old. the quarantine is mostly for people over 65 and those that have vulnerable diseases. i just go out to buy groceries or to go the pharmacy and walk my dog. i am quite well except the fact that I do not see my daughter and granddaughter

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Which is the main industry that suffer the most from this situation?

Our travel industry; has been getting a hard hit. hotels are empty. all the guides in Malta have no work. tourism is at a complete stand still . there have been some visiting tourists; who are now stuck in Malta arriving here just before the ban on all commercial flights. some of them had to go into obligatory quarantine for 14 days

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Museums; schools ;shops; restaurants and shopping malls and outlets are closed . the airport and ports are closed and only open for humanitarian reasons (food repatriation ). those who can are working from home. the city is empty. The one industry that is still working is the noisy construction industry."WHO" praised Malta for the way we are handling the crisis.as for april 20 the figures are: 427 cases ; 3 deaths and 118 people who recovered

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

What is the loss do you feel personally?

I personally have no other job and i lost all my income. i am 68 years old and received a small pension which helped. the government introduced a scheme: to provide some monthly payment to those who lost their jobs; it's around 800 euro per month which is over the minimum wage that is 168 euro per week. i am happy as i received lately a confirmation for work with a group coming up in October; which is a positive sign

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

If you wish to contact me-my mail is: mariellabose@gmail.com

Facebook-Mariella Buhagiar Bose

the photos of Malta were taken by Robert Cuschieri that works for a travel agency are mainly from Maltese capital city, Valletta

photo taken by-Robert Cuschieri Malta

Russia: Sochi

Zetta Ermakova is the President of Sochi Tour Guides Alliance- Authorized translator & interpreter (English, German, Finnish, Estonian).

What is the situation in the tourism business now in Sochi?

Sochi Tourist Guides Association; was developing some special program for Finnish tourists, including balneology, wild nature tours, handicrafts, cuisine, etc. first meetings were scheduled for April so we have to postpone it at least until summer. all hotels and other places of accommodation of Sochi are closed till July; according to the Governor order