Armenia, Karabakh to Make Debut Appearance at LA Times Travel Show Feb. 13-14

Image from last year's LA Times Travel Show

LOS ANGELES– For the first time in the history of the Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Show, the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) will be represented—in the main Exhibition Hall, on-stage with cultural performances, and with a photo travelogue.

The tourism offices of Armenia and Karabakh will share a large “Welcome to Armenia” booth in the Exhibition Hall of the Travel Show, which organizers estimate will be seen by as many as 50,000 people over the course of the two-day show. The Los Angeles event is the largest travel show in the US.

Armenia’s participation is co-sponsored by the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), located in Glendale, California., the Armenian Tourism Development Agency (ATDA), based in Yerevan, Armenia, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia, in Los Angeles.

Armenia will also be represented on the “Global Beat Stage” with a music and dance performance at 11:10 am on each day of the show. The Gevorkian Dance Academy will perform modern and fold dances in traditional attire, and the Armenian music and dance group Duo Images will perform, as well.

And there is a “Destination Workshop” featuring a slide show travelogue about Armenia and Karabakh at 3:30 pm on the first day of the show, Feb. 13.

This slide show, entitled “Welcome to Armenia: Ancient Nation, New Republic,” will be presented by Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian, the authors of Armenia’s first-ever commercial travel guidebook dedicated solely to Armenia. The show features spectacular photography of the people, vistas, and historic sites of Armenia and Karabakh.

In addition to showcasing the beauty of Armenia and Karabakh in photographs, Karanian and Kurkjian will discuss the current state of tourism in the two republics and explain some of the logistics of getting there and getting around. They will also discuss Armenia’s prospects for developing as an eco-tourism destination. Their guidebook on Armenia, “The Stone Garden Guide: Armenia and Karabagh,” is the best-selling guide to the country.

“This is a huge event for Armenia, but also especially for Karabakh,” says Zaven Kazazian, a member of the AACC. “This is a rare opportunity to showcase Armenians at one of the largest travel shows in the world,” he said.

Participation in the travel show caps a decade of growth in Armenia’s tourism market, according to the Armenian Consul General G. Hovhannissian. “Armenia attaches a special importance to tourism, and has declared it to be a priority sector for the country’s economic development,” he said. “This is a joint undertaking [by the government and the private sector] and I am sure the Armenia booth will attract a lot of visitors,” he added.

Approximately 650,000 tourists traveled to Armenia in 2009—a ten-fold increase over the number who visited just a decade ago. More than a million visitors are projected to annually travel to Armenia by 2020.

The event is a milestone for the development of tourism in Armenia, says Nick Hacopian a member of the AACC and the Chair of the committee that organized Armenia’s participation in the travel show. “This is the largest travel event in the US, and our presence will help showcase Armenia to a vast new audience,” he said.

Representatives of Levon Travel and Sidon Travel—two Los Angeles travel agencies that offer tours to Armenia– will be at the Armenia booth each day to explain the logistics of traveling there. And several tour operators will travel to the Los Angeles from Armenia to be at the booth, including Saberatours-Sevan; Armenia Travel M; Elitar Travel; and Nueva Vista Travel.

The LA Times Travel Show will be open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 South Figueora Street, Los Angeles. Admission is $10 (Children 16 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult). More information is available at http://events.latimes.com/travelshow/

The Armenian American Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1999. The organization serves Southern California’s Armenian American business community and encourages greater ties and collaboration with the business community of Armenia. The AACC can be reached at www.armenianchamber.org, and at 818-247-0196.

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