Armenia’s Visa Laws Needs Reforming AUTA Armenian Rep Says

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Travel agencies from 15 countries will participate in the "Country of Speaking Stones 99" international tourist fair to be held in Yerevan October 2-7– announced Director of the Armenian Union of Travel Agents and Armenian office of the American Union of Travel Agencies–Sisak Abramian. He reported that besides Armenian mass media the exhibition will be covered by the monthly of the Belgian "Fristan" company. Also a report on the exhibition will be presented at the AUTA–99 congress in Strasbourg to be attended by 5,000 AUTA members from 68 countries.

The "Problems of Tourism Development" conference will be held during the fair. The conference participants will discuss the problems of visa regime–tax field and Armenian legislation. A new bill on tourism has been drafted which provides for licensing in the tourist sphere. According to Abramian–only guides and transport serving tourists should be licensed.

Addressing the problem of the Law on Added-Value Tax–Abramian pointed out that "if we send tourists abroad we do not pay the tax–but foreign guests who bring money to Armenia have to pay the tax in addition to the cost of the pass."

According to him–Armenia’s visa regime is similar to those of countries "that do not want anybody to visit them." He added that "if anyone wants to come here he/she must pay for a visa for 7–17 or 21 days at the border," whereas a tourist is issued a visa for 3 days and must pay 1,000 drams for each extra day or apply to the relevant body–which is a waste of time.


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