NEARLY 8,000 ITALIAN TOURISTS VISIT ARMENIA IN 2011

/ARKA/
MARCH 30, 2012
YEREVAN

YEREVAN, March 30. /ARKA/. Nearly 7,800 tourists from Italy visited
Armenia in 2011, Deputy Minister of Economy of Armenia Ara Petrosyan
reported journalists on Friday.

He noted that this number is increasing by 10-15 % each year.

Petrosyan said nearly 4,500 Italian tourists visited Armenia in 2009,
and 6,500- in 2010.

"Cultural and spiritual tourism is the most popular one with the
Italian tourists, and we will try to increase tourist flow primarily
for this varieties," he said.

He clarified that the growth of tourist flow from Italy is fostered by
the fact that Italians get introduced to Armenian culture and history.

" We are a new country on a tourist map, and we will have to do a lot
to appear in the international tourism market and take some position
there," he said.

Petrosyan highlighted improvement in tourist services as a condition
for attracting more tourists.

"Saying services, I mean all the links of the chain a tourist has to
pass through the moment he leaves the airport and till the departure.

This includes the airport itself, roads, reception for tourists at
historical and cultural sites, hotel infrastructure," he said and
added that even the world most developed tourist centers prioritize
improvement in tourist services.

In her turn, Italian tourism expert Nadia Pasqual said the average
age of Italian tourists coming to Armenia is 45-60 years old.

She added that Armenia should develop new varieties of tourism
to attract young tourists. Eco-tourism, and more available hotel
complexes should be mainly stressed in this direction.

According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia the number
of tourists to Armenia in 2011 jumped 10.3% to 757 935 from a year
earlier.