YEREVAN, March 31. /ARKA/. The index of Armenia‘s tourist competitiveness does not properly reflect the real situation, Head of the Tourism Department, RA Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, Mekhak Apresyan stated, commenting on a report on international competitiveness in the tourist sphere for 2008 prepared by the World Economic Forum. According to the report, Armenia ranks 89th among 130 countries this year, whereas it tanked 74th in 2007.
“I do not think that Armenia is implementing a passive marketing policy, all the more so that, in contrast to the other countries of the region, we were the first to start advertising our country on CNN and EuroNews,” Apresyan told reporters. He added that it is a passive marketing policy and improper presentation of the country on the world market that are Armenia‘s major problems.
He stressed that Armenia is also actively participating in about ten international tourist exhibitions, giving priority to the target markets. However, the authors of the report have different ideas of the priorities of participation in international exhibitions.
“We are not going to participate in exhibitions Armenia is not interested in as a potential market for tourists only to get a higher rating in the world competitiveness report. We intend to participate in the projects we are interested in,” Apresyan said.
He admitted the shortcomings in infrastructure, but expressed the opinion that Armenia is at a higher level of business environment management than indicated in the report.
“I think that it is necessary to hold meetings and carry out explanatory work with the authors of the report, especially in the context of the Government’s active policy of developing Armenia‘s tourist industry,” Apresyan said.
The report ranks Armenia 5th in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Among the 130 countries Russia ranks 64th, Georgia 72nd, Ukraine 77th and Azerbaijan 79th .
Among the positive aspects of Armenia‘s tourist industry are hygiene and sanitary conditions, tourists’ security, price competition, good attitude to tourists.
Among the shortcomings are the visa regime with the countries Armenia has the largest number of tourists from, environmental problems, transport infrastructure, hotels, personnel retraining.