Head of Tourism Federation: Armenia welcomes more tourists despite unstable situation in the region
Tourism on the rise in Armenia
The tourism sector in Armenia is gradually “coming out of hibernation, although there is still a wariness among foreign tourists due to the unstable situation in the region”, says the head of the Tourism Federation of Armenia Mekhak Apresyan.
According to him, most tourists come from the US, Europe, Japan and China. However, this is mostly individual tourist, there are not so many group visits yet.
In addition, in the first quarter, which is not considered a tourist season, high rates were recorded in the field of domestic tourism.
Tourism in Armenia has been in a crisis since the spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the autumn of that year, the country was at war for 44 days. All this really brought down the boom in the sphere that was observed after the Velvet Revolution of 2018. However, at the same time, domestic tourism began to rise.
“In the first quarter of 2022, the number of domestic tourist visits reached about 250,000, which is 2.9 times more than last year, but, unfortunately, still less than in the first quarter of 2020, when there was no coronavirus yet”, said the head of the Tourism Federation.
According to the Statistical Committee, the number of domestic tourists in the first quarter of 2022 amounted to 183,000 people. This is 22% more than in the same period of 2020. Compared to the most active tourist year of recent times, it is considered 2019, this figure is 15.5% higher.
According to the head of the Tourism Federation, the number of individual visits to Armenia from the countries of the Far East has also increased.
He explains the low rate of group visits precisely by the “unstable situation in the region”.
During the first quarter of this year, thousands of people from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus arrived in Armenia. However, these were not tourists who came on vacation, the influx was caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“About 115,000 visits were registered, mainly from Russia, as well as 4,000-5,000 from Ukraine and Belarus”, Mekhak Apresyan said.
But since June, according to the head of the Tourism Federation, people have already started to come on vacation.
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Apresyan found it difficult to answer the question which direction is more attractive for foreign tourists. This, according to him, depends on the purpose, personal preferences and expectations of the trip to Armenia.
As for domestic tourism, according to the data of travel companies, the most preferred destinations for the residents of Armenia themselves are Tavush, Syunik and Lori regions.
Experts believe that the inhabitants of Armenia became interested in local resorts during the pandemic, but found such interesting places that even after the opening of the borders they prefer to vacate in their homeland.
At the same time, in their opinion, Armenia still has a lot to do to develop tourism. In particular, to conduct an active, purposeful marketing policy and carry out institutional reforms.
“It is necessary to bring the legislation in line with today’s challenges and developments, improve the procedure for crossing the border”, Mekhak Apresyan believes.
Explaining his idea, he recalls the visa-free regime for more than 60 countries of the world, which was in effect before the spread of the pandemic. He says it is time to restore these mechanisms, which will facilitate the entry of foreign tourists into the country and increase the number of people wishing to visit the country.