Hotel economy, significant increase in number of tourists: Armenia’s progress in the field in past decade - film
YEREVAN, APRIL 10, ARMENPRESS. Significant progress was recorded in the tourism field during the ten years of tenure of 3rd President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. If in 2007 the number of tourists visiting Armenia was 510.000, in 2017 this number reached nearly 1.500.000. Mainly people from Russia, Iran, Georgia, US and several European countries visit Armenia, and over the past years drastic increase in number of tourists from the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Japan, India, China and elsewhere was recorded. It’s interesting to note that during these years the number of young people visiting Armenia also increased greatly, Armenpress reports.
In 2008, based on the achievements recorded in the tourism field, as well as on the existing challenges, Armenia’s government adopted a new tourism development concept which defined ambitious goals for the field’s development and the action plan for reaching these goals was developed. Today we can already state that the concept already gave tangible results.
Not only the number of tourists visiting Armenia increased, but also the domestic tourism activated a lot. Compared to 2007, the number of domestic tourists tripled, exceeding 1.000.000 (this is mostly thanks to a state policy, as well as introduction of social packages).
The rapid growth of the field, as well as the favorable investment environment in the country promoted the drastic development of tourism infrastructures. It’s worth to state that at the moment there are over 540 hotels in Armenia which surpasses the figure of 2017 by over two times. Moreover, 60% of hotels are located in the provinces and rural settlements.
The diversity of hotel facilities also contributes to tourism development – there are already more than 30 hostels, more than 250 rural houses in the provinces and rural settlements. Armenia became attractive also for world leading hotel networks, such as Radisson, Marriott, IBIS, Hilton and etc.
One of the main and the most important goals of the state policy in tourism field is tourism’s decentralization – from Yerevan to provinces, restoration and maintenance of local traditions, boosting community economy.
The diversification of tourism result is also important: Armenia is presented as an attractive destination for religious, agro, eco, adventure, wine, spa tourism.
The traditional festivals covering nearly 30 topics develop by the state assistance and gradually become more recognizable in the international market. It’s not a coincidence that for instance according to the statistics presented by National Geographic magazine, Armenia is included in the list of five leading countries as an interesting and affordable country in terms of cuisine.
Pope Francis’ visit to Armenia in 2016 had a significant impact on the development of religious tourism as his visit was titled “Pilgrimage to the first Christian country”.
In 2010, Wings of Tatev ropeway was constructed in Armenia. It was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest ropeway in the world that moves without stops.
Extreme tourism is actively developing. Yell Extreme Park several kilometers away from Ijevan operates in Yenokavan which is famous for its Zip lines, the longest of which is 750 meters, the flight is 200-300 meters high. In addition, works have launched for constructing the world’s longest Zip line which will be about three kilometers long.
Among other programs aimed at tourism development are the development programs of Gyumri’s Kumayri historical center, as well as the tourism development programs in nearly 60 villages being implemented in cooperation with the UNDP and the World Bank.
The open sky policy run by Armenia also contributed to development of tourism. At the moment 28 airlines operate regular flights from Armenia. In addition, as a result of facilitation of border passing procedures Armenia became more available for foreigners. The list of countries, for the citizens of which the visa requirement is eliminated, increased by more than 40.
It’s worth stating that Armenia has become one of the two international educational centers of the world’s tour guides. Armenia is known to the world as a safe country for tourists as evidenced by foreigners visiting the country, as well as by the leading periodicals, and Gallup that included Armenia in the list of the safest countries.
At the end it’s necessary to state that Armenia will not be satisfied with the existing achievements in the future and will continue taking steps aimed at developing tourism. The evidence of this is the Government’s 2017-2022 program which set a goal to at least double the achievements of this field, reaching the number of only domestic tourists at least 3 million. The State Tourism Committee of the ministry of economic development and investments and the Tourism Development Foundation of Armenia have been created for these ambitious purposes.
English –translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan
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