Armenia as a Tourism Destination
''I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.'
Welcome to one of the mysterious places of our planet – Armenia is the only country remaining from 3,000 year old maps of Anatolia. It became the world's first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD and has a large Diaspora all over the world. As a former Soviet republic lying in the South Caucasus region straddling Asia and Europe, Armenia has a rich and ancient culture. Landlocked, Armenia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east. Tourism in Armenia has been a key sector to the Armenian economy since the 1990s when tourist numbers exceeded half a million people visiting the country every year. Armenia’s tourism industry has shown significant growth in the past 5 years with an average annual growth of about 9% of incoming tourist arrivals. According to the State Tourism Committee of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of RA (Republic of Armenia) the number of incoming tourist arrivals to Armenia in 2017 January-march comprised 298.533 or 18.2% growth in the number of incoming tourist arrivals was reported towards the index of 2016 January-March.
Every traveller can find his/her dream in our small and beautiful country which offers a wide range of different activities throughout the country. Nowadays, it is very popular to visit different countries during one trip as it is more reasonable, cheaper and develop intercultural communications in-between neighbor countries. It is rather interesting to meet Caucasus people with their special traditions, lifestyles and see the differences. Armenia hosts many tourists from Georgia and Iran borders as well as offers combined trips together with Artsakh (Nagorno Karabkh). Although internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Artsakh is de facto independent from it, comprised mostly by ethnic Armenians and only accessible via Armenia.
The tourists visiting historical Armenia mainly stay in Yerevan, the capital, where the majority of travel agencies and hotels are located. Outdoor activities and sightseeing seem to be the primary attractions though. Tsaghkadzor, Jermuk, Dilijan and many other incredible towns are known as mountainous resorts, which are outside of the capital. Tourists prefer to stay at the hotels or guesthouses in order to discover our traditional and mountainous land. Most of the visitors engage in extended trips over all Armenia without returning to Yerevan every day.
The classical sightseeing trips to Armenia are popular not only among the tourists, but also with the local population. However, in recent years Armenia has become more common in adventure tourism as it has a great potential to promote active holidays and extremal tourism in the surroundings of high mountains, incredible landscapes and beautiful nature with its biodiversity. Mountaineering, camping, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, horseback riding and other kinds of activities are of great interest among increasing number of our visitors. The number of visitors to Armenia increases also due to festivals and international competitions.
By introducing Armenia as a tourism destination we always mention our historical churches and monasteries for the first place. Here you can discover a number of cultural and historical monasteries and churches that stand still over the ages 8 of which are inscribed as UNESCO world heritage sites, fast flowing rivers and green valleys that look like a carpet under your feet, meet local people and gain new friends, get acquainted with the special traditions and customs most of which are still celebrated today especially in the villages, taste the flavor of our culinary heritage and hike or cycle through the beautiful nature with its unique flora and fauna.