In recent years, Armenia has become one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the region, with the number of arrivals increasing on average by 15 percent to reach around 2 million in 2019. Hovsep Patvakanyan,economist-consultant at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Armenia, shares his insight, while highlighting the potential of this gem, situated between Asia and Europe

The year 2020 is one in which Armenia is expected to move into the spotlight, as budget airlines Ryanair, Wizzair, Transavia, Airbaltic and many more launch cheap flights from various countries, including Austria, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Germany, Latvia and France. Tickets are priced competitively, starting as low as EUR 35 for a round trip. Early predictions suggest an additional 550,000 budget travelers are expected to visit Armenia in 2020 via the newly opened direct budget routes. Eco tourism, gastro and enotourism are amongst the recently developed and fastgrowing segments, attracting increasing numbers of visitors who are keen to not only tour the country’s ancient monasteries and castles, which date back to the fourth century, but also visit its many vineyards and gastro restaurants. One tourist spot generating growing interest is the city of Gyumri, characterized by picturesque buildings of black stone dating back to the 19th century, delightful cafes and attractive guesthouses. Getting to and from the city has been made much easier by the introduction of a new fast train service running between Yerevan and Gyumri twice daily. To keep up with growing interest in Armenia, new tax regimes have been introduced for hostels, guesthouses, hotels and tour agencies. For facilities whose annual turnover is below USD 220,000, the tax payable is 5 percent of annual sales, while those with a turnover of less than below USD 55,000 are fully exempt. Invest in Armenia, a site that serves as an intermediary for investors and businesses looking for funding, currently has information on several investment opportunities within the tourism sector. These include:
• Ardvi Village Resort: USD 2 million
• Sevan Dive Coffee House: USD 191,000
• Suncastle Tourism Center: USD 1.47 million
• Dsegh Guesthouse: USD 150,000

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Hovsep Patvakanyan
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