It is only now that non Russians are being allowed to visit as tourists. One of the reasons is that there is poor infrastructure and it is only now that this is being updated.
The Scenery on the way across the border from Norh Ossetia is excellent .
The locals speak Ossetian and Russian. After the USSR broke up up in the early 1990s, this area did not wish to be part of Georgia. Just like Abkhazia they speak their own language.
After the last war in 2008 , I think there is no hope that this area will ever go back to Georgia and in fact the people want to join Russia and be part of North and South Ossetia.