Jermuk Resort Town Development Programs Require Serious Involvement


2009-08-03 12:31:00

ArmInfo. Implementation of Jermuk resort town development programs
requires serious involvement of the private sector, says Artak
Ghazaryan, Deputy Director at USAID/CAPS. "Jermuk has potential
for becoming a tourism center and medical resort of regional
importance. However, successful implementation of the project requires
serious attitude by the municipal agencies and the local private sector
involved in the programs as well as the government," he said. Jermuk
development program approved by the Government of Armenia in August
2008 implies annual increase of the number of tourists to 100,000 by
2012 instead of the present 5,000 (20,000 tourists in Soviet period
of time). The annual income of the resort town from the tourist trips
is to be increased to 100 million dollars till 2012, which implies
opening of 4,000 new jobs.

The program was elaborated with the support of the USAID/CAPS. "I do
not think that it is possible to ensure such high level of income
within the coming three years, but in the long-term outlook it is
quite possible," A. Ghazaryan said. Nevertheless, he does not think
that the idea of building an airport in Jermuk may be interesting to
the private sector since the project will be profitable only in case
of large-scale tourism. "To attract tourists, it is better invest
in tourist facilities, including service, hotels and leisure-time
entertainment. Airport may become reality only subject to becoming
a strategic goal of the government," he said.

"There are many sights in Armenia that can be declared tourist
zones. For instance in Vayots Dzor region where Jermuk is located as
well as in Syunik and Lori regions. In addition, it is noteworthy
that in the legislation of other states creation of tourist zones
requires influence on certain sectors (agriculture etc.) that form
mini-clusters of tourism industry. Both Vayots Dzor and Syunik have
such potential. It is necessary just to involve the private sector
in these programs also through providing them with certain tax and
other privileges in tourist zones. In this case, local business will
be ready to invest in these zones," A. Ghazaryan said. A relevant
draft law on tourism has already been prepared with the support of
European experts, he said.