YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Despite the underdeveloped infrastructure–Armenia offers touristic interests which are in great demand on the international tourist market–said Minister of Industry and Trade Ara Petrossian during his meeting with the Austrian-Swiss joint delegation last Sunday. Armenia offers cultural and historic tourism–ethnic and agricultural tourism–ecologically pure food–and winter tourism–Petrossian noted. The delegation included representatives of big travel companies and reporters of advertising magazines for tourists–who arrived in Armenia to study the country’s possibilities in development of tourism.
The members of the delegation pointed out the need for solving a number of problems related to the development of tourism–such as transportation facilities–serving staff–and hotels. They stressed that very few firms are engaged in the development of tourism in the countries with underdeveloped infrastructures. As for Armenia–the members of the delegation believe that much work is still to be done. Sharing their opinion–Minister Petrossian pointed out that such work is already being done. He reported that a World Bank-sponsored project of thoroughfare construction is currently being implemented–and the privatization of hotels promotes their reconstruction within short periods. He also said that his Ministry is currently engaged in training and retraining personnel. Over the past two years the number of tourists visiting Armenia increased three fold.
Petrossian explained that travel companies from Belgium–Great Britain–France–Iran–China–Japan and other countries also show interest in Armenia. He also reported that in the near future a law on tourism will be adopted that will provide the ground for the tourist business in the country.