Cooperation in action Armenia: Innovative approaches to strengthen the private tourism industry

Armenia in the South Caucasus is still largely uncharted territory in terms of tourism. Yet the mountainous country has a lot to offer: impressive cultural heritage sites, unique natural landscapes, vibrant cities and a dynamically developing wine and catering industry.

However, the country's potential is not being sufficiently tapped. Businesses in the tourism sector lack access to capital and to markets, and they lack support for the development of new products and of viable business models. There are also no platforms to coordinate joint activities with the public sector at the regional and national levels, especially with regard to product development, marketing, and training.

German activities

Germany supports a programme for private sector development and vocational education in the South Caucasus in order to foster sustainable economic development in the region. As part of this programme – and with co-financing from the European Union –, the ITTD project (Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia) focuses on the sustainable, forward-looking development of Armenia's tourism sector with special attention for engagement with the private sector. The project builds on ongoing activities, especially in the fields of wine tourism and training.

Project focus

The project seeks to foster tourism development in three target regions in northern Armenia – Shirak, Lori and Tavush. It focuses on four fields of action:

  • Access to finance for private enterprises
  • Support for entrepreneurship and start-ups
  • Expansion of sector coordination at the regional level
  • Support for the tourism authority in the field of international marketing

The project also uses synergies by closely linking its tourism-related activities with those that focus on technology.

Among other things, the project can draw on extensive support programmes with a total volume of 3.5 million euros that can be accessed by private companies in the tourism sector and by organisations that pursue regional development efforts.

A Tourism Innovation Academy has been set up jointly with partners. It supports enterprises which receive programme grants by offering them workshops and mentoring as they develop their products.

At the regional level, support is provided to organisations that bring together businesses, associations, education facilities and local public institutions in order to boost the development of tourist destinations.

In order to make Armenia better known as an international tourist destination and in order to give providers of tourism services better access to international markets, the project works closely with the Tourism Committee of the Ministry of Economy.

All project activities focus on fostering innovative business thinking and practice. Above all, the idea is to diversify the options for tourists, make rural areas more attractive, and make the sector more competitive.

The results can already be seen – for example, more new businesses being started (including increasingly by women), a broader range of options being available for tourists, especially in the fields of nature and outdoor tourism and wine and gastro tourism, and the tourism season increasingly being extended to the entire year.

Under a pilot project, support has been provided to five companies offering outdoor and sports activities such as kayaking, climbing, zip-lining, high ropes courses, and motorbike tours. They have been assisted in introducing safety standards and obtaining the internationally recognised TÜV safety certification.

In order to make destinations more attractive, the project also supports the development of the creative industries. Together with a partner, it has set up the ArtBox Incubator to foster entrepreneurial thinking in the artist and creative world.

Videos

Still from the video "Fostering businesses and start-ups in the tourism sector – the Tourism Innovation Academy"

Fostering businesses and start-ups in the tourism sector – the Tourism Innovation Academy

A 12-month programme comprising workshops, mentoring and community events, tailored to tourism start-ups in Armenia

Still from the video "Expanding tourism options – winter tourism in the Shirak region"

Expanding tourism options – winter tourism in the Shirak region

The northern regions of Armenia, including in particular the Shirak region, have great potential for the development of winter tourism.

Still from the video "Accessible tourism in Armenia – a pilot project with the Arites travel agency"

Accessible tourism in Armenia – a pilot project with the Arites travel agency

Arites gives visitors with disabilities a chance to travel in Armenia.

Project data

Envisaged duration: November 2019 to April 2023

Financial volume: 14.95 million euros (1.45 million euros from the BMZ; 13.5 million euros from the EU)

As at: 25/05/2022