who comes to Armenia and why
So what is bringing each body of people to Armenia?

The travel and tourism sector is one of the largest economic sectors in the world. Responsible for 10% of global GDP and one in 10 jobs on the planet, the travel and tourism industry creates jobs, reduces poverty, and drives exchange of goods and services. Indeed, the industry accounts for 30% of world services exports, and research shows that for every 30 new tourists to a destination one new job is created.

Around the world, more and more governments are realizing that, for the most part, barriers to travel are not making people and countries safer; rather, they are hindering a nation’s progress. From encouraging economic growth, national development, and global tolerance and acceptance through the transfer of goods, people, services, and ideas, the travel and tourism industry is a force of good in the world, and is an industry whose development should be encouraged and supported.
Who comes to Armenia
In Armenia, the travel and tourism industry directly generated $383.1 million (approximately 184.8 trillion AMD) and directly supported 38,500 jobs in 2016. These numbers account for 3.8% of Armenia’s total GDP and 3.3% of total employment. However, the sector is much larger, and plays a far greater role in the nation’s economy and development than this first glance.

When one considers indirect contributions to the industry (such as tourism-related investments in hotels and restaurants, and government spending in support of general tourism activity, like tourism promotion, visitor information services, etc.) along with direct contributions to the industry (revenue and job creation as a result of travel agencies, airlines, tour groups, hotels etc.), the travel and tourism sector accounts for approximately 14 % of total GDP and 12.5% of total employment (143,500 jobs) in Armenia. 

It is only natural that tourism plays such a large role in the nation, when Armenia has so much to offer. At the moment, Armenia has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with an additional four sites on the Tentative List. Every year, the country also hosts various festivals, international competitions, and conferences which attract worldwide attention. Some of these include but are not limited to the Golden Apricot Festival, International Balloon Festival, Areni Wine Festival, the Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference, and the Pan-Armenian Games.
Who comes to Armenia1
Ranging from delicious cuisine, beautiful landscapes, and an array of festivals, to monasteries, monuments, and artifacts that showcase the nation’s rich culture and history, Armenia has something for everyone. Hakob Hakobyan, Chairman of the Armenian Hotel Association, echoes these sentiments: “Yerevan is a very beautiful city, which has many attractions for foreign tourists. In general, people are satisfied with entertainment center visits in the capital and the local brandy and food tasting. In addition to tours to churches and cultural sites, the tourists are also offered adventure and rural tourism.”

Indeed, the diverse demographics of those coming to Armenia illustrate the country’s potential ability to appeal to anyone and everyone. In 2016, 30% of Armenia’s tourists came from Iran, 22% from Russia, and 7% from the United States. Since 2016, Armenia has also seen a 64% increase in tourism from China, and a 236% increase in arrivals from the Philippines. The first half of 2017 also saw an increase in tourism from Iran and Arab countries.

Armenia oftentimes lauds itself on its global geopolitical positioning—not many nations can boast friendly ties and close connections to countries in the West, Asia, and Middle East at the same time—and these statistics are a testament to the fact. While Armenia is being able to attract such different demographics because it is trying to market and provide services and experiences suited to the needs, preferences, and desires of multiple demographic groups, the potential for growth remains largely untapped.

So what is bringing each body of people to Armenia?

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By Kristen Anais Bayrakdarian

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