Responsible Tourism in Armenia
WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL
And we encourage you to spend your money responsibly!
We have changed our business model as we are switching to responsible travel to eliminate the consequences of COVID-19 on other small business in Armenia like ours!
***If not Covid-19 maybe we wouldn’t have had the time to do so much research and update of our creative itineraries from 2020. Let’s look at the bright side of life as well.
“When you buy from a local small businesses, you are supporting a dream, you’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little buy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, an artist buy a new brush and paints…”
Most villages in Armenia have limited employment opportunities available after the collapse of the USSR, and because of the impact of COVID-19 the situation got even worse.
Responsible tourism can provide an important source of jobs and income not only for small family business but also everyone in the community working with them.
For example, a small village in Armenia which has a Mom-and Pop hotel started to accept tourists who also buy food at their small restaurant. The food is provided by the local community such as bread (from women who bake them in the village), cheese, jam (from the elderly couples who keep cows, collect berries and fruits in the forests to make preserves), honey (from a local beekeeper), wine (made in a small family winery), etc.
A local village artist can sell his paintings, a ceramist can sell his works, many village grandmas can sell their embroidery. The whole community in such cases may depend on tourism.
Income from tourism also helps substantially with the preservation of ancient churches and monasteries around the rural communities, and the conservation of ecosystems in places such as Dilijan National Park and Arpi Lake National Park.
Bad relations with its hospital neighbors, and a collapse in industry after the Soviet Union split, now the devastating consequences of COVID-19 have led to problems with unemployment and even more increase of the poverty affecting the vulnerable rural communities especially in northern Armenia. The chance of better employment prospects abroad has led to significant levels of emigration and a ‘brain drain’ among younger generations.
As our company which is a small family tour business suffering dramatically because of COVID-19, we are going to fully support the vulnerable entrepreneurs (like us) with passion, love and dedication to Armenia and their small business.
Our experience has proved a visit to a small family house for lunch, or wine tasting in a small family-owned winery or a stay in a charming small guesthouse in rural Armenia maximizes our travelers enjoyment as they have the chance to socialize with the locals, experience authentic Armenia with its incredibly hospitable, friendly and warm people who melt your heart.
In Armenia food, wine, history, medieval architecture, traditions, nature, hospitable people… all blend into a marvelous mélange and we are here to show you authentic Armenia.
What you can do
By buying our “Responsible Armenia Tour” package you are not only supporting a small business you are supporting the dreams of so many hard-working and creative people going through difficulties.
You can help deter migration to the cities, or further afield. That goes from staying in family run accommodations to buying your snacks from roadside stalls, such as the barbecued corn on the cob you’ll often see outside monasteries.
The beauty of Armenia is that it’s not a well known destination. While you can expect warm hospitality everywhere you go, outside major destinations such as Yerevan, Jermuk and Lake Sevan the tourism infrastructure is barely developed. A lot of the time you will be staying in small, family run guesthouses in locations where there is not a great deal to do by night. But that’s the joy of travelling in Armenia – you’re blazing a trail in a country that’s still relatively unknown.
What will be do
Our itinerary will cover all Armenia but we are going to spend a bit more time in the most beautiful regions of Armenia in the north of the country – Shirak, Lori and Tavush which are the least affluent.
Shirak region especially Gyumri, the arts & crafts city, and its people are the most soulful and creative with a great sense of humor. To see real Armenia with all its colors everyone must visit Gyumri.
Tavush is a real hidden gem with so many hiking trails, forested hills, medieval monasteries with khachkars blending into the nature.
And majestic Lori region leaves us speechless with its rugged landscape, where on every hill-top and open space there are remains of old castles and mysteriously attractive medieval monasteries; the fascinating Debed Canyon with its bottomless gorges and woodlands and all intertwined into the fairy-tales of H. Toumanyan.
You will stay in the most beautiful family hotels and guesthouses which are quaint, charming with a local character (each room with its own bathroom).
You will eat local food which is healthy prepared in a local house or a small restaurant. The food in Armenia is mostly produced in the country, it is mostly organic (As in many areas the farmers can’t afford pesticides) and the Armenians prefer to cook only seasonal produce growing locally in small-scale farms. In Armenia food miles are more likely to be food meters and many people here would be amazed that ‘farm to table’ is not a way of life in some countries but a marketing concept.
You will taste wine in small family wineries and if you don’t drink wine you can taste mountain herbal tea which has a divine aroma. And instead of sugar you will be offered honey which comes directly from the beekeeper.
You buy your tour from a local small Armenian tour company employing local tour guide and driver who will accompany you throughout the tour. They receive fair wages working with us.
Shopping is never included in our tours but you are encouraged to support the locals as you visit a workshop of a ceramist, a wood-carver, a stone-carver, beekeepers and winemakers, etc.
You will visit UNESCO World Heritage sites in Armenia