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YEREVAN. – The 23rd assistance program adopted by the government yesterday will apply to tourism-related sectors: catering, hotel business, and travel agencies. The total cost of this nine-month program could reach about 6 billion drams. The government intends to subsidize the salaries of some employees in the above-mentioned sectors. The minister of economy, Tigran Khachatryan, said this Friday, presenting the details of the anti-crisis programs adopted by the government, and which are aimed at eliminating COVID-19’s negative economic consequences in Armenia.

According to him, the government has held a number of discussions with companies and trade unions from the aforesaid sectors, on the basis of which an assistance program has been developed. "Discussions have shown that these companies prioritize staff retention," said Khachatryan, adding that the government has the same goals.

The first condition for being eligible for this assistance program is to have at least three employees, Khachatryan explained, adding that this assistance program will apply to companies that have been established until March 31. "We intend to encourage companies in the sector that, despite the difficulties, have managed to retain more than 70% of their staff. These companies will receive subsidies in the amount of the salary of every third employee, which is more than 33% of the payroll," the minister said.

He added that the companies that have not been able to maintain the required percentage of their staff will also be able to benefit from this assistance program—but at 25% of their payroll.

Khachatryan noted that the peculiarity of this program is that it covers a long period of operation—nine months, and this is due to forecasts that tourism-related sectors in Armenia will be able to recover only by next spring. He noted that the main condition for the duration of the program is the maintenance of existing indicators; if the sector starts to recover faster and reaches 70% of the previous turnover, the program will be stopped.

The minister stressed that this program does not apply to individual companies, but to all the mentioned sectors in general.

According to the government, the potential beneficiaries of this program have about 23 thousand employees; thus, the salaries of 5 to 6 thousand employees will be subsidized. The minister added that in nine months, the amount of this aid will reach about 6 billion drams.

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