YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The number of foreign tourists visiting Armenia has continued to grow this year, reaching a new high of almost 1.3 million in January-September, a senior government official said late in December.
The figure represents a nearly 9-percent increase from the same period in 2017, Hripsime Grigoryan, the head of the government’s Tourism Committee, said at a news conference.
Grigoryan said that Russian nationals continued to account for the largest share of tourist arrivals (41 percent), followed by residents of neighboring Georgia and Iran.
All three countries have sizable Armenian communities, as does the United States. More than 46,000 Americans visited Armenia in the ninth-month period, according to government data publicized by Grigoryan.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan hailed news reports saying that Armenia is a leading destination for Russians planning to spend their New Year and Christmas holidays abroad. “This is certainly a chance for many Armenian businesspeople to do their share of economic revolution and lay the groundwork for a bigger tourism boom next summer,” he wrote on Facebook.
Grigoryan said that the influx of tourists intensified following this spring’s “velvet revolution” which brought Pashinyan to power. “We had a particularly high rate of growth in the period from July through October,” said the official.