News > Pan-Armenian News > Winter tourism promoted in Armenia
Mekhak Apresyan, head of the Tourism and Regional Development Department of the Ministry of Economy of Armenia, expressed optimism about winter tourism in Armenia especially in well-known resorts at Tsakhkadzor and Jermuk (in Kotayk and Vayots Dzor Provinces, respectively).
According to his statement, the above two locations are fully geared to welcome local and foreign tourists, provided that the required snowfall is maintained. Last year the average snowfall was not enough to achieve the needed results, but meteorologist forecast the coming winter to be snowy.
Besides the alpine skiing routes in Tsakhkadzor and Jermuk, tourists will have the option to go to normal skiing routes available in Gyumri (Shirak Province). The Ministry is encouraging the citizens to experience internal tourism and visit the beautiful locations inside Armenia. A Winter Festival will be held in Jermuk.
Apresyan claims that the world economic crisis has not affected the tourism sector in Armenia yet. According to the Ministry's figures some 422 thousand tourists visited Armenia during the first nine months of 2009, compared to 399 thousand tourists for the same period in 2008 (with an increase of 5.8 percent). On worldwide scale, tourist arrivals have recorded a slump of 3%.
Among major tourism generating countries for Armenia are Russia, Georgia, CIS countries, Iran, EU and USA. More than half of international tourists are from Armenian communities worldwide.
On another occasion and during the opening ceremony of the relatively unknown international annual tourism fair of Armenia (CTS 2009), Ara Petrosyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Economy predicted that, if the current growth rates continue, Armenia will have a record of 600 thousand tourists this year.
The international fair attracted about 60 travel agents from several countries, such as Georgia, Greece. According to Yeghishe Tanashyan, Vice-president of the Armenian Association of Travel Agents (AATA), Turkey might be present at next year's fair, if the borders are opened between the two countries.
Apresyan says that world economic crisis has not affected Armenia yet and he cites an increase of tourism arrivals of 5.8% for the first 9 months of this year, whereas past figures show that Armenia witnessed a 20% increase of tourism arrivals in 2008 (compared to 2007).
The government's draft budget for 2010 has set aside only 65 thousand dollars for tourism development in Armenia, a figure that is so low that cannot instigate any kind of tourism flow to Armenia. With only few video clips in Euronews channel and CNN we will not be able to tap wider segments of the traveling population.
Armenians of the Diaspora travel to Armenia with or without marketing, but the foreigners have so many options to choose from. This is where a carefully planned and substantially funded campaign can secure a diversified and gradually increasing wave of tourists to Armenia.
Photos taken by Christapor Pakhanian:
1) Up: Angeghagot Lake. 2) Below: Sevan Lake