Bristol delegation travels to Tbilisi: James Durie, CEO of Bristol Chambers of Commerce, Mayor of Tiblisi Kakha Kaladze and Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees.

12 Oct 2018

Bristol delegation travels to Tbilisi

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol has travelled to the Georgian city of Tbilisi, along with regional business leaders, to strengthen trade and economic links between the twin cities.

The visit to Tbilisi is part of a series of commercial, cultural and educational events taking place throughout the year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the twinning of the two cities.

The 30 year relationship has seen the two cities enjoy a range of cultural, educational and commercial initiatives, but now Mayor Rees is looking to increase commercial links with the Georgian capital.

Representatives from 80 Georgian companies and the Georgian Government will join the Mayor of Tbilisi at the meeting. The Bristol delegation is looking to build on the current relationship between the two cities and increase the current investment and trade opportunities.

While there, the Mayor will take part in a round table summit, and will also unveil a plaque in the newly refurbished former visa offices at the British Embassy in Tbilisi. The Embassy is officially naming the space “The Bristol Room” to mark the 30th anniversary of the city twinning.

Mayor Rees said: “This exchange will strengthen our international links and enable us to share the innovative and creative ways in which Tbilisi and Bristol are redeveloping our former industrial areas. Bristol has regenerated the historic Harbourside area by reclaiming old buildings, and transforming them into museums, creative venues, restaurants, bars, hotels and apartments. It now forms the heart of Bristol’s 21st century cultural centre. We hope to share our experiences with the people of Tbilisi, and we can learn from them too as we look to shape development in the Western Harbour and across the city.”

James Durie, CEO of Bristol Chambers of Commerce (Business West) who is with Mayor Rees on the visit, said “At a time when international trade is at the top of the national agenda I am very pleased to be working alongside Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees in visiting Tbilisi. Our trip presents an excellent opportunity to better understand the potential for developing trade relations between Bristol and the West of England and Georgia and the wider Caucasus region.

“In Bristol, the Mayor, business, the universities and other partners are proactively working together to promote a joined up offer overseas encompassing cultural, educational and commercial opportunities.” 

This trip follows an earlier visit to Bristol by a Georgian delegation led by Ms Sophio Khuntsaria, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi.

During the visit to Bristol, the Georgian delegates attended screenings at the international Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, where 10 Georgian film directors showed their work. They also visited Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, MShed Museum of Bristol, Spike Island Arts Centre and SS Great Britain Ship Museum, to gain an understanding of how Bristol transformed the city’s Harbourside area, and found new uses for old warehouses and buildings.

Deputy Mayor Khuntsaria said “We were delighted to visit our twin city Bristol, and be given the chance to learn about the city’s cultural and night-time economies. We have seen many fantastic examples of Bristol’s redevelopment projects, including the Waterfront area. The impressive creation of cultural hubs and spaces has given us exciting ideas for our own strategy to regenerate former Soviet factories along our riverside.”