YEREVAN (ARKA)—The number of tourists traveling to Armenia has grown considerably due to new efforts to popularize the country, head of the Armenia Travel +M tour agency, Marina Kprelyan, told journalists at a press conference on Thursday.
According to reports and expert estimates, 256,917 tourists visited in Armenia in the second quarter of this year, a 1.8% increase compared to the same period in 2014.
A wide variety of events, including exhibitions, festivals, Armenian Genocide centennial commemoration events, and the current Pan-Armenian Games have led to the unprecedented growth, according to Kprelyan.
The head of the travel agency did not provided concrete data, but said that the alleged 1 million tourists that Armenia receives each year is not exact number and includes the total number of people who visit Armenia. Not everyone arriving in Armenia is a tourist, she said, and that the calculation should be based on records from airports, hotels, and banks.
Kprelyan also said that Europe, including Germany, Austria, England and France, and Israel, accounted for the highest share of tourist arrivals in Armenia this year. The number of tourists from Japan and the US has also increased, but is still curbed by lack of direct flights, she said.
According to Kprelyan, Armenian tourists most frequently visit the Republic of Georgia, largely due to its geographic proximity to Armenia and low costs. Greece, Spain, and Italy are also popular travel destinations for Armenians, Kprelyan said.
Kprelyan noted that because Armenia is not well known on the world stage, more proactive efforts will be needed to popularize the country.
According to the Republic of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, 180,099 Armenians traveled to Georgia in July, an 11.9% increase from 2014.