Armenian Government claims “exceptional” tourism growth rate

Armenia -- An Iranian couple takes pictures in Yerevans Republic Square, 21Mar2011.

Armenia -- An Iranian couple takes pictures in Yerevans Republic Square, 21Mar2011.

Head of Armenia’s Tourism agency has said the number of visitors to the country is growing at the rate of 20-25% annually, even though a World Economic forum report indicated that Armenia seriously lags behind its neighbours in tourism competitiveness rating.

Armenia was ranked only 90th out of 139 countries in the report, falling behind Turkey (ranked 50th), Georgia (73rd), Azerbaijan (83rd).

“We’re no less competitive than our neighbours. We have up to 25% growth, which I would call an exceptional figure,” Mekhak Apresian, Tourism department head of the Ministry of Economy told a news conference on Tuesday. “This means that our tourism has demand in the international market,”  he added.

Data from National Statistical Service shows that 113 thousand tourists visited Armenia in January – March, 2011, which is up 22% from the same period last year (93 thousand).

Armenia reported 684 thousand tourists in 2010, up sharply from 575 thousand 281 figure in 2009.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsian has said on one occasion, that the country is expecting up to 700 thousand tourists this year.

Travel experts have been questioning government’s tourism figures and calling them “grossly inflated.” They say the official figures take account of all individuals entering the country, including scores of Armenians working abroad and spending holidays in their homeland.

Armenia -- A view of the center of Yerevan against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

Armenia -- A view of the center of Yerevan against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

The cost of air travel to and accommodation in Armenia is still disproportionately high by international standards. Churches and mountain scenery are the main attractions, but the tourism infrastructure is still rather underdeveloped. From what I know, capital Yerevan can barely host 5,000 tourists daily and large cities like Gyumri and Vanadzor have difficulty accommodating more than 200 people at once.

Diaspora Armenians and Iranians are probably the two largest groups visiting Armenia for tourism purposes in recent years. This has resulted in quite expensive infrastructure, so much so, that locals cannot afford to spend holidays in the country and prefer to travel to neighbouring Georgia and even Turkey, for more affordable and high-quality recreation facilities.

On the other hand, the Armenian government is certainly interested in showing inflated figures and thus demonstrating, that they are doing a good job in encouraging tourism, which is considered an economic priority for Armenia. But frankly,making up figures alone will not help here.

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11 thoughts on “Armenian Government claims “exceptional” tourism growth rate

  1. Indeed aper, inflating figures is stupid, because someone needs to show taxes paid against those figures :)

    I am interested in following: Did anyone ask tourists what their most challenging issues in Armenia are? Be it transportation, service, language, banking, food, internet, whatever. Like 360 survey. This would help shoot the crosscutting problems that exist. 

    Does this state entity in the Ministry of Economy analyze any data or it’s just statistics? 

    I know very few countries do that, but as we think we are attractive enough to call tourism our priority – we have to do that.

    • There’s no proper survey, but I’ve talked to tourists here and there and some of the things they not is lack of tourist facilities at distant churches, few places for accommodation and attractions outside Yerevan, expensive flights, which arrive at inconvenient hours.

      Other than that, they seem to love it.

      • Parev, i just came back from yerevan 2 days ago and stayed for 21 days. i didnt mind the long trips to churches, vanks and so on , it was exhausting but fun, prices of cafes , restaurants, food and so on r very reasonable but as u said the attractions outside Yerevan r very few mostly scenery and religious sites, hotels and renting houses was our main problem and it was a bit expensive especially for long stay , some r poorly furnished some have no ac. another annoying thing was the taxis that dont activate the hashvitch and try to charge u triple price, one driver asked for 3k while the cost was only 600 dram lol the same goes for souvenir sellers @ vernisage and other places, if u need a good deal u have to spend most of ur day negotiating the prices.
        i hope this helps a bit :)

  2. …”the country is growing at the rate of 20-25% annually”…
    …”making up figures alone will not help here”…

    I could not agree more, this is typical propaganda on part of this mafiya gov’t. I wish it was true, I wish our tourism is up 100 fold, but unfortunately for us that will never happen, not in a 100 years.

    also, if such numbers are real then why is our economy still suffering more severely now than ever? the mafiya and their agents-cronies can only control so much of where tourist money is spent in Armenia. eventually a large minority of that money would be spent with locals who either are not connected to mafiya and/or dont pay kick-back/bribes to them

    how can Yerevan not accommodate 5k tourists daily? she has enough hotels-motels-hostels to easily accommodate 25k+ daily and still have room to play with. I mean I know she’s not a large city compared to European/Asian, but she is the largest city in our homeland and the capital. all capitals of any country should be able to accommodate minimum 25+ tourists daily, even for a small country as ours

    now as for our Gyumri and Vanadzor, I wont comment on it as I was only in those 2 cities briefly and was not able to soak in every little detail of whether these 2 cities have the infrastructure to accommodate more than 200 daily, which I would assume 200 daily is nothing for Gyumri, but I dont know…so therefore, I dont pretend to know. however, 200 is small number and Gyumri with its population and hospitality should be able to easily accommodate 500-1000 daily, yes?

  3. As for accommodation – there are about 40 hotels in Yerevan, most of which have less than 100 beds. Add to this about 100 bed and breakfast solutions and you’ll barely get 5000 beds.

    As for Gyumri, for example – it has 3 hotels and 5 motels. The hotels have a maximum of 20 beds each. Motels very in sizes. 150 could be managable, 200 would barely be possible with bed and breakfast solutions and having to spend the night with friends and relatives.

    I know all these figures because I have organized a large number of events involving foreign guests (festivals, trainings, seminars and conferences), and have had to deal with accommodating and feeding big groups.

    • @Observer
      lav aper, yes inch gitem vor, ba du gites
      du ayntex es aprum, du piti imanas amen inchic mer Yerevanum

      I hope you dont have to pay out of your pocket for accommodating large events. I mean, they should be paying you

      I swear, I wish I have 1Tr. dollars, I would inject it into Hayastan and hold her up high where the world can see her and realize…ara this ARmenia country is no joke ha, they are ARyan, they are KAVKAS, they are cradle of civilization u verj…LooooooL omg can you image otars saying “u verj” that would be so hilarious, cicaxic k’merrnem…”uhm ya like omg, my name is paris hilton u verj, that’s hot u verj”….LMFAOOOOOOO

  4. How want Iranians in Armenia ??? They all hanging around on moskvayan street and marshal bagramian looking for prostitutes ……………..

  5. And they are taking pictures and filming NOT BECAUSE THE CITY IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL ORE INTERESTING ; THEY ARE FILMING THE GIRLS :::::: ITS PORN FOR THEM :::::::::::::::::::

    • @pat
      lav ara go kill them, take all their money and send them back to iraaaaaaaan in tehraaaaaaaan, ara inch asenq?

      also, please dont diplay profane words
      use asteriks like this F****** or better try not to use it at all

  6. Pingback: U.S., Armenian Defense Officials Map Out Closer Cooperation « WesternDefenseStudiesInstitute

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