Tag Archives: tourism

A new border-crossing point (BCP) in Bavra (Shirak marz) will now offer Armenian citizens many advantages: simplified procedures, reduced waiting times, modern infrastructure, equipment, and improved security. It will enhance Armenia’s regional connectivity by promoting international trade, transit and tourism.

ARS_1542On 1 October the official opening ceremony of the Bavra BCP was attended by the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Chairman of the Armenian State Revenue Committee, Vardan Harutyunyan, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, Bradley Busetto, the Head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Regional Representation for the South Caucasus, Sébastien Husson de Sampigny, Government officials responsible for border management, and representatives from International Organisations, Diplomatic Corps, and the Media. The construction and upgrade of Bavra BCP were done through the EU-funded and UNDP-implemented “Modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points of Armenia” (MBBG) project.

ARS_1594The new Bavra facility, together with the Bagratashen and Gogavan BCPs that were officially inaugurated on 4 November 2016, is one more step towards enhanced security and the provision of more efficient services by border agencies. However, facilities are only one part of the story. This modern BCP and professional border staff will help facilitate trade and the transit of goods, reduce associated time and costs, as well as make cross-border movement of people for business and social purposes more comfortable. Previously, under the 2017 European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) survey of Eastern Partnership BCPs, Bagratashen BCP (together with Zvartnots International Airport) scored highest in terms of traveller satisfaction with the border-crossing experience. Criteria included infrastructure, safety, professionalism of border officers, access to additional information, and facilities for children and the elderly.

ARS_1774Ambassador Świtalski congratulated all project partners for opening the third crossing point: ‘Opening this completely reconstructed BCP in Bavra is an excellent example of EU-Armenia cooperation to improve Armenia’s connectivity and support to its trade and economic development. The upgraded Bavra BCP is in line with international standards and designed to be convenient for both businesses and citizens. Together with the Bagratashen and Gogavan BCPs it will ensure 3 alternative routes for the movement of goods between Armenia, Georgia and beyond. They will stimulate the development of the marzes through which the routes pass. The EU is committed to continue supporting these initiatives and will work closely with all Armenian counterparts to replicate this design at other BCPs on the Armenian borders’.

ARS_1730Chairman Harutyunyan thanked all partners for their assistance on MBBG: ‘I am convinced that efforts from the Armenian Government and Governmental partners will continue this BCP modernisation process. Now the modernisation of Armenia’s southern border has begun in Meghri. Design and other estimates for the BCP have already started’.

De Sampigny talked about EIB assistance: ‘Iam pleased that EIB funding contributed to the upgrade of the three border crossings between Armenia and Georgia. Based on my personal experience, this will greatly facilitate people’s travel and exchange of goods; thus, it will benefit the whole region, as well as the European Union’.

ARS_1162Armenia received a €30.8 million EIB loan for MBBG to upgrade infrastructure and equipment at the three BCPs. This loan was complemented by a grant of €17.2 million from the European Union, and a Government contribution of €4.44 million. UNDP was the main implementer of the project and also made a financial contribution of €1.9 million.

“Dilijan Orran”, an Armenian cultural, art and culinary centre, opened its doors on 15 July. The centre was established by the EU-funded “Further development and sustainability of tourism contribution to poverty alleviation in the regions of Armenia” project. This project creates employment opportunities in Tavush marz, with a particular focus on women, in the tourism industry. The project applies a creative approach to opening up the socio-economic potential of Tavush through promoting and selling traditional crafts and products. The project is being implemented by the SOSE NGO.
Monica Papyan, representative of the EU Delegation to Armenia, gave a speech at Dilijan Orran: ‘This type of cooperation has existed for several years, and the Lori Orran centre in Lori marz offers an example of this project’s success. I am sure this centre will have the same experience. By using the potential and knowledge of locals, businessmen can create promote their businesses and provide more economic growth in these communities. This is not only a business initiative, but also a cultural and historical project’.
Director/Project Manager Nelli Sedrakyan stressed the centre’s potential to create employment opportunities for local residents: ‘At this stage, more than 20 local residents can either be employed by businesses that operate in this centre, or can establish and run their own businesses from the centre. The provision of goods and services from the centre gives residents the opportunity to use their skills and are provide needed tourism goods and services. The centre provides the necessary space or conditions for this which residents lack at home. Another advantage of the centre is that the services are provided from one centralised location, which increases the chances of these goods and services being used’.
Representatives of travel agencies, tour operators, and international organisations were shown around the centre and were acquainted with the goods and services provided by the trained local residents of Tavush marz, tasting homemade drinks and food. At the end of the event the guests were introduced to Armenian wedding traditions and were taught elements of Armenian dances; they even had the opportunity for role play and dance in a group wedding dance.
This opening ceremony allowed residents and centre personnel to demonstrate the skills and services they had learned through training provided by the project.

The official launch event of the “Single Cross-border Visitor package” (SCBV), developed within the framework of the programme called “Promoting Innovative Rural Tourism” (PIRT) took place on 19 March 2015. PIRT is a regional project aimed at supporting regional cooperation and cross-border partnerships for economic and social development in four Black Sea Basin countries via the promotion of rural tourism.
The project is funded by the European Union and is being implemented by Heifer Armenia (as lead organisation) with partners from Bulgaria (Varna Economic Development Agency), Georgia (Heifer Georgia) and Turkey (Gumushane National Educational Directorate).
A unique tourist package has been developed as part of the project including up to ten rural tourism-related itineraries. Tourist agencies in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria will have the opportunity to sell this new product. Tourists buying SCBV will be able to travel through all four countries with the one package. SCBV will increase the visitor flows on the regional level and contribute to unprecedented cooperation between national authorities in the region and intra-country, aimed ultimately at sustaining the cross-border impacts of rural tourism. Anahit Ghazanchyan, PIRT Project Coordinator, introduced the details of the project, and presented the website and short films advertising the package.
Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, confirmed the EU’s willingness to support Armenia in its development: ‘I am delighted that the activities of this project will result in stronger regional partnerships and cooperation through integrated utilisation of physical and human resources, and the exchange of best practices aimed at enhancing the standards of touristic products and service delivery. All this will contribute to the economic and social development of the Black Sea Basin region, which is a key objective of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Instrument’.
Armen Harutyunyan, Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, mentioned in his speech that many efforts had been made to ensure the project’s success: ‘This project targets not only the development of tourism but also regional relations with our counterparts. Our region is unique – Armenia is unique in terms of its rich heritage, history, and culture – and we have to demonstrate this to the whole world. These kinds of undertakings allow us to showcase the many advantages Armenia possesses’.
Partners and guests from Bulgaria, Georgia and Turkey participated in the event, which was flavoured with regional folk music, as well as displays of national and traditional products and art. Representatives from Armenian ministries, partner governments, foreign missions and embassies, and international and local partner organisations were also invited.
PIRT is co-financed by the European Union through €473,000 in assistance from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. The programme started in November 2013, and is projected to last for 18 months. It will establish cooperation among Black Sea Basin region countries (Armenia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia). Rural tourism is a particular focus – joint efforts of all the parties are promoting initiatives to exploit common, traditional and innovative tourism opportunities.