Armenia Expects over Half a Million Tourists in 2008

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The head of Armenia’s Tourism Department in the Economy Ministry told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday that his department is expecting about 600,000 foreign tourists to visit Armenia this year.

Tourism Head Mekhak Apresian explained to reporters that the Government has approved a new policy on tourism development and his department has begun developing a plan of action to implement it.

He said the department will welcome and appreciate all suggestions and proposals regarding the policy. The first stage of the Government’s tourism plan, he explained, will cover the period from 2008 to 2012, and will work to develop Armenia as a national recreational center.

According to Apresian, the plan anticpates that some 3 million foreign tourists will visit Armenia in 2010. About 510,000 tourists visited Armenia last year, he explained. The combined total of Armenia’s hotels and inns can only accommodate 10,000 people at a given time.

Because the number of tourists visiting Armenia is set to grow this year, the country’s tourism sector must work to raise the quality of services it provides to foreigners.

The Armenian government has also earmarked $300,000 for advertising to run on CNN from May to October and 15,000 euros for advertising on the EuroNews TV channel. He said the government has also allocated funds for the filming of a documentary about Armenia that will be screened by major foreign TV stations.

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