Armenian Government Slashes Tourism Industry Subsidies

The Armenian government announced late last week that state support for the country’s struggling tourism industry will be cut by 47 percent to just over USD 200,000.

The cuts come with Armenia’s economy in free-fall as remittances from the Armenian diaspora – the overwhelming majority of whom live and work in Russia - have largely dried up as the Russian Ruble has lost more than 60 percent of its value after Moscow was put under international sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

According to the government’s press release, the reduced state funds will be used to stimulate domestic tourism and organize cultural events around the country, as well as to attract foreign investments into Armenia’s tourism industry.

The majority of the outside investments are expected to come from Moscow as Russians account for nearly 50 percent of Armenia’s total tourists.

Armenia’s Tourism Development Minister Mekhak Apresyan said in October that the number of visitors to Armenia has grown by 11.3 percent since 2014, but the overall amount of money spent by tourists has dropped significantly.

Apresyan stated that the tourism ministry hopes to target new, untapped markets in the country to attract visitors from outside the former Soviet Union.

“We want to offer more options that focus on agro- and adventure tourism, as well as developing our spas and health resorts to attract a larger tourism flow,” Apresyan told regional news Web site Kavkaz-uzel.

Nicholas Waller

07 November 2016 18:40