Tourism in Armenia in 2023
Tourism in Armenia 2023
“If there are no catastrophes in Armenia and the tourism sector continues to develop, this year it will be possible to surpass the figure of 2019 [before the coronavirus pandemic] and receive about 2 million tourists,” Mekhak Apresyan, head of the Tourism Federation of Armenia, said.
And tourism expert Tatevik Harutyunyan believes this figure to be possible, but qualitative changes are more important, especially sector strategy and market diversification.
Almost 300,000 tourists in two months
The Tourism Committee of Armenia presented data for January-February 2023, showing that the number tourists to Armenia in February alone was 130,588, and for January and February more than 290,000 people.
“This is the highest number compared to the same period of previous years,” the committee concluded.
During the first two months of this year, the number of tourists from Russia (52%), Georgia (12%) and Iran (5%) has increased.
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“We can reach 2.5 million without much effort”
The head of the Tourism Federation, Mekhak Apresyan, believes that by 2026 it will be possible to reach 2.5 million tourists, and it will not even require special efforts.
“In the next 2-3 years, we may well reach this number. Another thing is that we have to think about how many tourists we need to ensure sustainable tourism.”
In his opinion, a clear policy is needed in order to achieve a “reasonable number” of tourists for whom favorable conditions can be provided and a return visit can be expected.
But some in the industry warn that the cost of tourist packages to Armenia may increase by up to 50%.
Last year, travel companies that hosted foreign tourists suffered losses due to the strengthening of the local currency – the dram. The fact is that the packages were sold long before the visit of the guests, and the falling dollar and euro rates hit their business.
Tourism expert Tatevik Harutyunyan considers a realistic increase in the number of tourists up to 2 million. However, in her opinion, it is more important that the relevant government departments analyze the statistics of visits and develop a strategy for further action:
“Our market is not diversified, the majority come from Russia. The dynamics show that people choose this country also due to the lack of an alternative.”
According to Harutyunyan, over the past 30 years the leaders of the tourism sector have not taken any steps to diversify the market. She wants to increase recognition of the country and improve advertisement across all media.
“A person should hear about Armenia all the time in order to think: one should go and see what kind of country this is.”
As for the expected rise in price of tour packages, Harutyunyan says that prices are rising around the world, but this is more evident in the local small market. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the Armenian dram has risen in price by 25-30%.
Harutyunyan thinks that this situation will not particularly affect Russian tourists, but Armenia will become uncompetitive for the European market:
“If you can go on vacation to Spain or Armenia for 100 euros, the tourist will prefer to go to Spain. The ticket and food are cheap, it’s not far, you can even go by car.”
The expert finds it difficult to predict whether there will be an increase in organized tourism. Recent trends indicate that people prefer to travel on their own, that is, personally buy tickets and book hotels, rather than using tour packages.
“In both cases, there is a statistical indicator of growth, but there are qualitative differences. In one case, the travel agent acts as an intermediary and provides various services, in the other case, he is not an intermediary [the agency does not earn],” she explains.
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Tourism in Armenia 2023