Ambassador Lemmon Believes Tourism to Be Key to Solving Armenia’s Economic Problems

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–US Ambassador Michael Lemmon hosted a reception in honor of Gunnur Ozalp–a Turkish representative of the American Society of Travel Agents–February 10. The goal of Ozalp’s visit is to establish possible cooperation with Armenian organizations and to develop tourism between Armenia and Turkey.

Michael Lemmon said that the goal of Ozalp’s visit fully coincided with the programs being implemented by the United States. According to the US Ambassador–the development of tourism is of primary importance to Armenia in light of the upcoming celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of embracing Christianity due next year. "We are sure that tourism developed in the right way will help Armenia handle its economic difficulties and also will stimulate the country’s advancement," said the Ambassador.

Lemmon informed his guests that two groups of Armenian specialists in the field of tourism were sent to the United States in 1998-1999. A fair-exhibition on tourism was held in Armenia last fall and a Caucasian forum on trade and investmen’s was organized in Istanbul through US financial assistance. According to Lemmon–the US Embassy stays in cooperation with the program’s participants so as to help them found an organization to coordinate the development of tourism in Armenia and also to design a website on tourism.

The US Ambassador believes that Armenia possesses vast potentialities in terms of tourism and that there is a vast market to develop this trend. "From this perspective–we encourage regional cooperation–which–in case of a favorable political development–may become the first step toward involving Armenia in the international network of tourism," the Ambassador said.

Paraphrasing Yeghishe Charents–Lemmon recited: "Oh Armenian people–your economic salvation will come through developing tourism in a team effort."

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