Migrants from Russia are considered tourists in the classical sense and have a positive impact on the economy, but if we look at the situation deeper, it turns out that this phenomenon does not have a positive impact on the stable development of Armenian tourism, the head of the Tourism Federation of Armenia Mekhak Apresyan told journalists today.
This, according to him, is due to the fact that against the backdrop of rising airfares, citizens who were planning to visit Armenia directly for tourism purposes have cancelled their trips. "People were planning to visit regions of Armenia and spend money evenly throughout the country, not just in Yerevan. Such a contingent will not spend $5,000 on an air ticket," he explained.
The expert warned that long-term stopping of tourism in Jermuk and other tourism centers because of the enemy's aggression may lead to the closure of workplaces and decline of the sphere. Apresyan expressed confidence that it would be very difficult to restore human resources, pointing to the need to implement a program to support tourism in these places. "Due to public sentiments in Armenia, the now famous Areni International Wine Festival, which was supposed to take place on October 1, was postponed. Depending on the situation, the festival, as well as other tourist events may be held by the end of October," he stressed.
The expert stated that the biggest challenge for tourism is insufficient understanding of the importance of the sphere for the country, given the fact that the representatives of tourism are often reluctant to apply for state support.
He pointed to the inadmissibility of collapse of the sphere, which can lead the economy, noting the importance of allocating sufficient funds to market Armenia in the global tourism market. "For example, almost 1.9 million tourists visited Armenia in all of 2019, which means inbound tourism provided at least $1 billion in revenues. Tax revenues then amounted to $300 million. Allocation of only 1% of this sum to boost Armenia's marketing would have a significant impact on the development of tourism," Mekhak Apresyan added.
According to the data of the Ministry of Economy, about 1mln tourists visited Armenia during the first 8 months. According to the expert, there is a tendency to approach pre-coronavirus indicators by the end of the year. "In the first 6 months of this year, 588 thousand tourists arrived in Armenia, that is 2.4 times more than in the same period last year. But this is less than for the same period of 2019 (more than 770 thousand people)," he concluded.