28 July 2014

Tourism: Where do citizens of Armenia travel?

By Meri Martirosyan


Leisure is an important precondition for enjoying an active working life.

Due to pressing social reasons, not all Armenians are able to relax in the Summer. There is even an anecdote saying that only wealthy people in Armenia can vacate inside the country, while people belonging to the middle class can only afford leisure breaks abroad.

Where do our compatriots head for their summer vacations? It turns out that their preferences have not changed. The leading countries are Georgia, Greece, Cyprus, Antalya (in Turkey) for those with modest resources, and Italy, Spain, France and other European countries for people with higher income.

Travel agencies mention that the number of Armenians planning to visit European countries has recently dropped due to visa-related red tape issues.

Many Armenians prefer Egypt for their vacation. Others head to Dubai, where, according to the tour operators, one can spend just 750-800 dollars a week for a double room with breakfast in a good-looking hotel, while holidaying in Bulgaria may cost around 1,000 Euros and going to Italy or Spain may need a budget of 1500 Euros for the same period. 

Georgia is still the most popular tourism destination for Armenians, where a 7-day holiday begins with a mere 50,000 drams ($123), including hotel accommodation, food and transportation. Price affordability and beach attractions are the two main elements that make Georgian tourism desirable.

Statistics show that the number of Armenians going for tourism to Adjara (one of the Georgian seaside provinces) is about 60-70,000. Train, bus, and motor vehicles are the common transportation means for accessing the destination.

It is noteworthy that in 2012 the number of tourists visiting Armenia was 603,074, with an increase of 9.4% compared to the previous year. It is not clear, however, if these figures represent the tourists or almost everyone who has visited Armenia.

The number of tourists increases in Armenia during different events such as the festival of traditional food in the town of Akhtala and the wine festival in the village of Areni. Soon there would be a new tourism festival in Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia, thus further highlighting the country's rich traditions.

Experts affirm that more coordinated efforts would enable Armenia to join the list of enticing countries, where taking a holiday is not just fun, but also affordable.

Related: Consider Armenia (www.ConsiderArmenia.com)

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