By Atom Markarian
The government expects that the number of foreigners visiting Armenia this year will stand at 120,000, about the same as in 2001, Deputy Minister of Industry and Economic Development Ara Petrosian said on Wednesday.
Last year saw a record high influx of tourists into Armenia. Many of them were Diaspora Armenians attending year-long celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of its adoption of Christianity as a state religion.
“We hope that by the end of the year we will have tourism indicators pretty close to those of 2001,” Petrosian told reporters. “The private sector is satisfied with the current rate of hotel bookings.”
He said the fact that the first months of 2002 have not seen a decline in the number of visitors suggests that Armenia’s nascent tourism industry continues to expand considerably. The government estimates that every tourist entering the country spends at least $1,000 there, he added.
Analysts believe that the sector’s expansion is hampered by the continuing lack of a modern tourism infrastructure, including decent and inexpensive accommodation for foreign travelers. Several new hotels are currently under construction in Yerevan