ArmInfo. The State Committee for Tourism of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment discussed the problems of the sphere. In particular, representatives of the private sector made a proposal to exempt tour packages from VAT, which in their view will make tourism products of Armenia more competitive.
Tour operators noted that in neighboring countries hotels are exempted from VAT, therefore, tour operators can offer more affordable packages, meanwhile in Armenia higher prices for air tickets, as well as expensive hotels.
They also offered to take the initiative for preliminary planning of non-working days in the year, which, in their opinion, stimulates domestic tourism and will provide an opportunity to more accurately compose tours within the country. Tour operators also consider it necessary to organize more organized festivals. In particular, they propose to set the date of the festival a year before the festival, so that this fact will be taken into account when compiling the tour packages.
In her turn, the head of the committee assured that these issues are being discussed with the relevant authorities. "We are trying to find ways to resolve them," she stressed. Zeytuntsyan noted that amendments to the law "On Tourism" are already being worked out, there are plans for licensing of tourist entities. In this context, the head of the State Committee added that there is an intention over two years to significantly increase both the number of tourists and the average time of their stay in the republic.
"It is necessary to create conditions in tourist areas that will attract tourists and they will stay longer than the current 8 days, therefore, they will spend more than the current average of $ 800 per person," she said.
To note, the number of international tourist arrivals to Armenia increased by 18.2% to 599.3 thousand in the first quarter of 2017, which was mainly due to the growth of visits by Iranian and Russian tourists - by 17.7% and 7.5% respectively. According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in January- December 2016, 1,259,657 tourists arrived to the republic, with an annual growth by 5.7%. During the same period, with the purpose of tourism, 1,262,687 people left Armenia, with an annual growth by 6.3%.