YEREVAN (Arka)—A total of 495,967 tourists visited Armenia in the first half of this year, an increase of 17.3 percent compared to the same period of 2013, said Mekhak Apresyan, the head of the tourism department at Armenia’s Ministry of Economy.
In the same period about 474,989 Armenian tourists travelled abroad, an increase of 14.8 percent against 2013.
According to Apresyan, factors contributing to increased tourist arrivals are effective cooperation of all involved parties, favorable business environment and investments climate, better access to Armenia on the international tourism market, the favorable visa regime and the “open air” policy in particular.
Development of infrastructure, diversification of tourism products, better recognition of the country in the world, and high level of security in the country have also contributed to the increase, Apresyan said.
The percentage of young tourists (25-36-years old) has grown from 6 percent in 2006 to 34 percent due to new tour packages of interest to young people, such as festivals, urban and rural tourism, adventures, alpine travel, hiking, and more, Apresyan said.
The surveys show about 60 percent of tourists are ethnic Armenians.
About 44 percent of tourists traveling to Armenia are from Russia, 28 percent from Georgia, 12-14 percent from the EU (Germany, France, Italy and Scandinavia) and 7 percent from Iran.
Armenian tourists traveling abroad prefer seaside vacation and, hence, choose the closest and most affordable Georgian Black Sea resorts. Yet, other destinations, like Egypt, the UAE, Bulgaria, and Sri Lanka have become popular, leading to a decline in demand for vacation packages to Turkey, Apresyan said.
Preliminary expert assessments suggest a total of 1.08 million tourists visited Armenia in 2013, says Mekhak Apresyan, head of tourism department at Armenia’s ministry of economy.
Investments in hotel construction are becoming profitable, said Mekhak Apresyan, head of tourism department at Armenia’s ministry of economy.
There is growing demand for hotels, not necessarily 4- and 5-star ones, due to tourism development, Apresyan told reporters on Wednesday.