EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” Project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and ONEArmenia have concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation on consolidation of efforts to enhance tourism in the northern regions of Armenia.
“Inside Armenia: Enhancing Tourism Experiences” project is focused on identifying up to 10 innovative tourism experiences in Tavush, Lori and Shirak and enhancing them to offer to the visitors of Armenia.
Mediamax participated in the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation and unveiled the details of the project.
“Since 2021, ONEArmenia has made a decision to direct all its potential to the development of tourism products in Armenia. Our main goal is to make Armenia number one destination in Caucasus for tourists. The project to be implemented represents only one aspect of that goal. “We are planning to use it for working with a variety of tourism experiences in the northern provinces of Armenia and enhancing their capacities,” noted Anahit Nazaryan, Country Director of ONEArmenia.
According to her, the research conducted during the previous year revealed that textual and visual content is what's missing most in the tourism industry in Armenia.
"Within the scope of the project, we will select, based on our criteria, up to 10 tourism experiences in Tavush, Lori and Shirak marzes and elaborate those to become competitive. We will specifically focus on creating a visual and textual content and put the story of these experiences in the spotlight. This is what is missing in Armenia currently; there is a lack of quality photo and video content related to tourism,” mentions Anahit Nazaryan.
In terms of selection criteria, high premium will be placed on the projects related to local food and wine. It is also envisaged to select cultural, specific craft-related experiences, for example, pottery or carpet weaving:
"The tourists will have the opportunity to take part in, for example, clay work, to learn about some other craft, thus getting to know the Armenian culture. Non-extreme, adventure tourism-related projects, like hiking, cycling, riding can also be included. Provincial city tours are also of great interest, since they are less accessible to tourists presently. We would like to work with healthcare experiences, e.g. baths in natural hot springs, apitherapy – bee treatment. Meetings with experts from various fields are also of interest to us, as they contain an educational component. For example, meeting with a blacksmith in his workshop, during which you can learn different skills. There are tourists who are interested in specific professional experiences and they want to meet with masters in different countries to learn from them,” Anahit Nazaryan adds.
The preparatory phase of the project is conducted and the practical part will soon begin.
"We will announce a call for proposals, where people from the three northern regions of Armenia will have the opportunity to apply to the project and present their tourism ideas. We will work individually on each selected project based on a preliminarily conducted needs assessment. There is very little time left before the tourist season opens, yet we want to already start featuring the experiences selected this year and offer those to the visitors of Armenia," explains Anahit Nazaryan.
She adds that this program is significant not only in terms of increasing Armenia's recognition on tourist maps, but also as a source of income for local residents.
"With regard to experiential tourism, there is already an estimated figure at hand; in this type of tourism, about 66 percent of the income stays with the community. This is a very good indicator. The more active movement of people in the community is, the more positively it affects the lives of the community residents. In this regard and in this area we have no competitors as such and to achieve our goal, we are willing to cooperate with anyone who wishes to,” Anahit Nazaryan says.
"We are looking forward to collaborating with ONEArmenia on this project, as we have had a very good experience of working together in the past," Wilhelm Hugo, the Team Leader of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia (ITTD)” project.
He notes that in order to bring off good outcomes, it is crucial to have strong partners.
"We have a shared vision with ONEArmenia, which is anchored on the quality, sustainability and enhancement of tourism products. The duration of the project to be implemented through such collaboration is one year. I am optimistic that we will see positive outcomes, and we are committed to support other projects in the future. ONEArmenia is one of those partners of ours who bring about changes in Armenia and we are willing to support them."
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan