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Armenia: Ancient and Modern Crossroads

Avenue Consulting Group’ s team has been working in the Tourism sector development and consultancy for years. Some of business opportunities identified by our team, as well as a brief analysis of the current situation and development tendencies are highlighted in the article published in the well-known Hospitality News Magazine. The article makes a considerable contribution to the Country Branding, by positioning Armenia as a possible destination for Middle East tourism inflow. 

 

Armenia is the only country remaining from the 3,000-year-old maps of Anatolia. It is also the world’s first Christian country.  A small, mountainous, landlocked country, whose geography and climate can surprise visitors, is also a land of opportunity, filled with diversified tourism and hospitality potential.

 

A culture-driven appeal

 

The role of tourism and hospitality industries in the world’s economy is steadily increasing. This is one of the most profitable and dynamically developing industries of the global economy. This industry plays a key role in the economies  that have small and limited resources. A comprehensive and successful hospitality industry can find reasonable solutions for social and economic problems these countries might face.

A ‘welcoming culture’ has been a characteristic of the Armenian society since ancient times, due to the country’s geographical position. Many foreigners visited Armenia and along with the inrush of tourists, there is high demand for development of guesthouses.

The country’s major intrinsic tourism assets are religion and historical and cultural monuments. Besides that, there are natural conditions favorable for the development of eco-tourism and rural tourism. In addition, the elements of extreme/adventure and rural tourism are claimed to be highly feasible for further development in Armenia.

Despite the fact that Armenia has tremendous potential in the tourism sector, the country’s capabilities and opportunities have not yet been fully discovered and explored. On the same level, developing the tourism and hospitality sectors has been a major priority to the government, particularly the development of rural tourism. This is precisely why so many privileges are given to this sector. In recent years, the activities and reforms implemented by the government were highly beneficial, resulting in a double-digit growth of the number of tourists. The same growth curve has been seen at the level of travel companies and other tourism-related services. For example, the number of hotels that have hosted international tourists during the past ten years has increased by  more than 60 percent.

 

Development potential 

 

Armenia offers favorable development and growth condition for F&B ventures. These include a beneficial tax regime, allowing new companies to enter the market as well as old companies for additional development.

On another level, the country brings potential of developments in the following sectors:

• Rural tourism

• Alco and gourmet tourism

• Eco-tourism

• Extreme/adventure tourism

• Historical tourism

There are a number of new and old events, which can be interesting to tourists. These include: Sport festivals (BASE FEST 2016), Folk festivals – Sheep shearing festival, taraz (traditional Armenian costumes) festival, festival of carpets). Also food festivals – dolma festival, harissa festival, among many others.

 

Opportunities

 

In recent years, tendencies like sport related activities such as paragliding, ballooning, and zip-lining, have witnessed a remarkable development in the country.  For the first time this year, a base-jumping festival will take place in Tatev monastery.

Tourists have a wide range of choice in both hotel and catering industries. Public catering facilities in Armenia offer Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Mexican, Georgian and other national cuisines.

Family business constitutes a main anchor in the country’s F&B scene, and family run businesses are widely spread as both restaurants and public catering services. There are over 1,500 big and small food courts only in Yerevan, which unveils a high potential of development of this category of the industry across various region in the country too. It is worth mentioning, that the number of catering facilities offering Lebanese cuisine has increased in recent years in RA. This was due to the influx of immigrants from Lebanon and Iran. The number of small wine bars has also peaked significantly.

Source: Hospitality News Middle East Issue 106

June 2016