18 Apr 2020
After CoronaVirus, What About Tourism Sector in Armenia?
Starting October 2019, Armenian government was working to host the booming tourism season 2020; they raved about Booking.com’s inclusion of their country in its list of ‘Top 10 Tourist Destinations in 2020’ as proof that Armenia is finally reaching out of its relative obscurity and onto the maps of many adventure tourists; also, we enjoyed record tourist arrivals of over 1.95 million inbound tourists last year; Armenia is ranked 12th with 14.4% in the list of 20 fastest growing countries for tourism according to the data of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Government, private companies, citizens and stakeholders worked hardly to position Armenia on the top touristic countries in the world. For now, Armenia is hospitable, safe, affordable, accommodating, culturally rich and offers a diversity of activities for visitors.
Oups, CoronaVirus is here and only in one single day all the expectations about the ideal summer season 2020 was disappear!
It is starting to feel like catastrophe. It is worse than the strikes, worse than any other situation or crisis.
Basically, tourism is entering a great crisis due to the worldwide panic of the CoronaVirus, duration and scope still unknown, which is leading to the stock market crash continued for a week to all the giants of the sector. The impact of the Covid-19 Corona Virus on world tourism as well as on Armenian side is unquestionable, and the authorities' forecasts are based on previous experiences with similar crises such as that of SARS or H1N1.
Armenia tourism is in damage limitation mode from the CoronaVirus outbreak as it faces a disastrous spring season, with hoteliers and tour operators pleading for state help as they find themselves on the brink of collapse.
We know very well that the effects of this crisis on tourism will be significant. the goal for 2020 is to reduce, as much as possible, the negative repercussions, given that our product has a specific characteristic: the largest volume of visitors comes to Armenia in July, August and September; revenues are decline starting the first quarter 2020, almost all tourism businesses are running out of working capital; the impact of small and medium business related to tourism sector will be critical at least until the third quarter of 2020.
Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover; It is a difficult period, but we must be strong... There's nothing else we can do; for now, we are waiting the end of crisis to implement the recovering touristic plan.
As always... together we are stronger
The main point regarding being prepared is this, no person or business is an island. Now is the time more than ever to work together, listen to those around us, talk to those in our tourism industry, ask questions, reach out, ask for support, and engage. There are some great webinars, great articles and blogs on all these subjects, take advantage of others’ knowledge and willingness to help. We will come through this, we are resilient, we are an amazing industry and above all we are strong, but stronger together!
We should believe in our solidarity and with the effort of citizens, government, business owners and Armenia lovers around the world we can mitigate the impact of the crisis and revive the dynamic sector in Armenia that is helping the entire economy to growth.