Russian blogger Alexander Lapshin has shared with concerns on his Facebook page relative to the high prices of the services suggested by Armenian tourist agencies hindering to tourism.
“In days I was searching for a ticket from Yerevan to Paris for the end of April, and all one-way tickets cost 250 euros and it is still cheap, and not every day. And the average price for a one-way ticket is 350 euros. Then I looked for options from Tbilisi and the tickets cost 130 euros. It is already good. Then I looked for tickets from Kutaisi Wizzair, and the one-way ticket from there to Paris cost 50 euros,” he wrote.
The second issue, according to the blogger, are the hotels, inasmuch as it is impossible to find a hotel in Yerevan costing less than 50 euros a day, meanwhile in London, one can find a hotel with that cost in the center of the city.
“My mother is a modest pensioner… Giving, for example, 500 euros for a trip, she can have a rest for a week in Paris, including a hotel and the ticket, in Rome, London, Bulgaria, and Spain. And she cannot do it in Armenia. A trip to Armenia costs her. Is it nonsense? My mother is a typical example that the foreign tourists have to choose other direction for their trip even though liking Armenia so much,” Lapshin explained.
He notes that tourists who visit Batum choose Turkey as a second destination in the region instead of Armenia, and the reason is not that Armenia is less interesting or Turkey is closer, but services in Turkey are much better and affordable.
“With its enormous tourism potential, Armenia could attract millions of tourists and work billions of dollars, that are so necessary for the economy, via tourism. But in fact, 7 million visitors visit Georgia annually, and only 1.5 million to Armenia. Just Georgians have created all the conditions for the development of tourism.
I will talk about Armenia’s local transport separately. It is awful. There are several irregular bus stations in Yerevan which are difficult for foreign tourists to deal with. It is impossible to find bus routes to other regions on the Internet, it is not clear how much the train tickets cost, etc. All the hope is on the hospitality and kind-heartedness of Armenians. A few years ago, I was in Goris and was looking for a transport to travel to Tatev for two hours. Taxi drivers, noticing that I was a tourist demanded much money. As a result, I was taken by other tourists, who themselves were lost, but at least they had a car. And once, when I wanted to go from Yerevan to Gyumri, I was sitting in the car for an hour and waiting for the driver to fill all the seats.Additionally, the instructions in English are insufficient and if you do not speak Armenian or at least Russian, it is very difficult for you”, Lapshin wrote.
The blogger notes that tourists spend about 80 euros per day in Georgia, on the hotel, on visits, on food and souvenirs. And this is a huge amount of money, which is why tourism has become a serious source of income for Georgia.
“Yes, Armenia with its geographical location can hardly have earned so much as a transit point, as long as the transport corridor to Russia through Abkhazia is closed. But no one hinders the development of tourism. Why do not they bring European budget airline companies to the country? It would significantly increase the flow of tourists, as well as allowing Armenian citizens to travel abroad inexpensively and comfortably. And besides, it would give tens of thousands of people the opportunity to have a decent job with a good salary”, Lapshin wrote.