The transfer of Russian tourists through the Yerevan airport en route to Georgia due to the Russian flight ban may be partially responsible for the boost in numbers
Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport served more than 3 million people for the first time in its history in 2019.
Passengers breaking the record at Zvartnots airport were greeted with music and gifts.
There is little information about what caused the growth in passenger volumes; it is possible the Russian flight-ban to Georgia in the summer played its part in the matter, since a number of tourists redirected their journeys to Georgia via Yerevan.
Moreover, in 2019, Armenia was mentioned as a top up-and-coming tourist destination in a number of tourism ratings. Bloomberg, for example, included the country in a list of the ten fastest growing tourist routes in Europe, and Forbes included Yerevan in the top 10 list of ‘the most underestimated places on the planet.’
Greeting the three millionth visitor
The flight shuttling passengers that broke the record arrived from Moscow. Airport workers greeted the passengers with music, sweets and wine.
The press secretary of Zvartnots airport Satenik Hovhannisyan stated that over the past four years the number of passengers served by Zvartnots has grown by more than 50%.
“Back in the middle of the year, we already assumed that at the end of the year we would have a record number of passengers. In percentage terms, it is 11% more than last year. Then (in 2018) the passenger flow through Zvartnots amounted to 2,693,000.”
Hovhannisyan claims the growth is associated with the active efforts of both private and state institutions working to increase awareness abroad about Armenia as a tourism destination.
However, Hovhannisyan was unable to answer just how much the situation was affected by the cessation of flights from Russia to neighboring Georgia.
Lowcosters Ryanair and Wizz Air may further boost numbers
Though more and more tourists from Russia and other CIS countries, not so many tourists come in from the European Union, nor do many Armenians fly to Europe due to flight and visa costs.
However, the situation may change next year – in October 2019, it became known that the first European low-cost airline Ryanair would connect Armenia and Europe. The first low-cost direct flights connecting Yerevan with Rome and Milan will launch in January 2020.
In addition to Italian cities, from the summer of 2020, flights to Berlin will launch, and one flight to Munich from the second largest city of Armenia, Gyumri, will also be offered to travelers.
By the end of 2019, budget airline Wizz Air also announced it was entering the Armenian market. From April 3, the Hungarian low-cost airline will connect Yerevan with Vilnius and Vienna.