Armenia Tourism

Sector outlook

Armenia, one of the most ancient countries in the world, has a unique culture and landscape: it has 10 sites registered in the UNESCO World Heritage list, its average altitude is 1,800m and 10% of the country is protected land forest. Armenia therefore offers rich and diversified tourism resources, especially for historical, ethnical (diaspora), spa and medical tourism, agritourism and skiing. The world famous “National Geographic Traveler” Magazine included Armenia in the best top 3 countries in the category of "Active and Extreme Rest", as a result of the international voting.

The contribution of tourism in the GDP is still low: 2.1% in 2011; but the sector is now one of the most dynamic and promising of the economy. Armenia records a sustainable growth in the number of tourist arrivals, 62% of which are from the Armenian diaspora, and hosted around 800,000 tourists in 2011, i.e. almost a quarter of its population. Main countries of incoming tourists are European countries (France, Germany, UK, etc.), Russia and CIS, USA and Iran.


Strategic direction/ specific schemes and incentives

  • Tourism and tourism infrastructure development are among the first priority sectors of the industrial strategy.


Business opportunities

Being a relatively new location for tourism development, Armenia offers first-mover advantages for several subsectors:

  • Hotel sector: construction of new hotels, re-development of facilities inherited from the Soviet Union times;
  • Promising niches: spa resorts, agritourism (especially wine tourism), ecotourism, MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions), middle class hotels, adventure tourism (trekking, rafting, rock climbing, etc.).

Examples of investment opportunities identified by USAID Competitive Armenian Private Sector (CAPS) initiative and ADA:

  • Jermuk Spa and Ski Resort: a core strategy was designed with the support of USAID, and a master plan was developed by TigerDev (Switzerland);
  • Sevan ski training centre, near Lake Sevan, targeting training of athletes and mass sports;
  • HrazdanRiverGeorgeHotel complex, a multifunctional 4-star hotel to be developed in Yerevan by XGroup (Armenia) in joint-venture with foreign investors.


Some success stories

Hotel Armenia, a legendary hotel located right on Yerevan’s Republic Square, was privatized in 1998 by AK Development, an American-Armenian joint-venture which invested around USD 40 million in the property to bring it up to international high standard and brand it as Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan.

Best Western Congress Hotel, an elegant hotel in Yerevan city centre, is managed by an Italian company, which developed high quality and management standards. Initially built as a 3-star hotel, it could get a fourth one.

Tufenkian Heritage Hotels is a luxury boutique hotel chain with four hotels in Yerevan, Dilijan, Sevan and Lori. The evolution of Tufenkian Heritage hotels started with the carpet weaving business founded in Armenia in 1993 by a US member of Armenian Diaspora James Tufenkian. In 2001, he opened the first hotel in Yerevan, with two initial objectives: an effective sales channel for Tufenkian carpets to wealthy Armenians and tourists, and ethno cultural tourism development.

 

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of EUROCHAMBRES and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

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