Tbilisi Calling!

2017venueThis week the EBU announced that Georgia will indeed host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017. This is great news considering Georgia has won the contest more times than any other country (three times – 2008, 2011, 2016), and it’s always nice to see the contest head to the winning country, as in adult Eurovision. What can we expect from Georgia?

Well, a press-conference was held at the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s (GPB) press centre where Deputy Minister of the Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Ketevan Bochorishvili said the following:
‘This is an international contest with participants from many countries, which is very important for us. The Contest is broadcasted in about 50 countries. This is the very benefit that our country will receive. It will serve to popularize and promote Georgia and result in increased number of visitors and tourists. I would like to mention that the tourism is one of the priority fields for us. In 2016, we had unprecedented number of international tourists – 6.4 million visitors. It will result in more jobs, more income in our families and more business activities in Georgia’.
And –
According the Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Chogovadze, this project will increase the awareness and interest and create the additional tourist flow.
“Georgian National Tourism Administration welcomes the fact that Georgia will represent itself through the one of the most popular TV projects – the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. It will contribute greatly in promotion of our country and generate additional tourist and visitors flow. The Georgian National Tourism Administration is planning to conduct supplementary activities, including inviting the journalists in order to promote our country even more through this project,” – Giorgi Chogovadze said.

So what does this mean? We won’t know until March most likely as details regarding the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be discussed during the EBU delegation visit to Georgia on 22-24 February. However let us speculate..
The Tourism Board wants to use this opportunity to promote the country, so they will likely aim to have as many journalists covering the event as possible. They may try hard to keep/bring in countries with big audiences (eg Poland, Spain). The postcards will likely feature touristic spots around Georgia. As it’s not a particularly wealthy country, fans can hope for cheap tickets to the event, although the popularity of JESC there means tickets might sell out quite fast.
If we examine Georgia’s past JESC entries, all bar 2007 and 2009 have been written by Bzikebi Studio’s owner Giga Kukhianidze. All entries have fit the child spirit of JESC so a show aimed at older teens seems unlikely, unless the EBU decides to pursue that direction (as in 2014).
We must conside that Georgia is three hours ahead of mainland Europe, four hours ahead of Ireland and six hours behind Australia. So a show held at 4pm will be 12pm in Ireland, 1pm in Europe and 9pm in Australia. A traditional later start such as 8pm may be more likely as then it would remain in it’s mid-afternoon spot in most of Europe. However as ratings fell dramatically in all countries except for Poland, likely due to the timeslot change, the EBU may wish to move the contest back to the evening? But evening in Europe would be midnight in Georgia, very unlikely to happen in this case.
As for the arena – the official Facebook account has referred to the contest being in Tbilisi. If this is the case, they have two arenas. One is the Dinamo Arena. It has a capacity of 54,549 people and thus is unlikely to be used, too big and too outdoors. The 2nd option is Tbilisi Sports Palace with a capacity of 11,000. Taking into account the stage, delegations etc would leave a 7-8000 capacity, which sounds very possible. Tbilisi Concert Hall is another option, it’s a rounded venue very similar looking to Malta’s 2016 stage. It only seats 2000 so fits in with the “smaller JESC” they were promoting last year.

More details to come soon!

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