The number of foreign tourists visiting Armenia is expected to grow by 5% this year, head of Economy Ministry’s tourism department Mekhak Apresyan said.
Addressing a press conference Friday, June 10, he said the number of foreign tourists visiting Armenia in Q1 of 2016 grew by almost 9% to amount to 252,000 people.
"We have been registering an annual growth of about 10% for several years, with the exception of last year when the number dropped by 1% largely due to the dramatic depreciation of the Russian ruble,” the official said.
However, the flow of Russian tourists to Armenia is restoring, Apresyan said.
“In the first quarter, we recorded a hike of almost 10% against the same period in 2015," he said, adding that the bulk of foreign tourists come from EU countries, Georgia and Iran.
According to him, in Q1 of 2016 the number of tourists from Iran soared by 40%. He added that despite the latest upsurge in violence in and around Nagorno Karabakh, the number of tourists didn’t decline.
Also, he said, in addition to traditional, historical and cultural tourism, travel agencies are working to boost winter, extreme, gastronomy, wellness, festival and hiking tourism.
In 2015, a total of 1.192 million foreign tourists visited Armenia.