Sustainable development through tourism in Armenia

The United Nations have declared 2017 as the Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development. Five key priorities have been identified by the UN to promote sustainable development through tourism: inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and poverty reduction, environmental protection and climate change, diversity and heritage, and finally peace and security.

The inclusion of local communities in tourist processes, particularly with regard to the redistribution of economic benefits, remains a key aspects for tourism to become a trigger of sustainable growth. In fact, much of the tourism revenues are currently transferred from the country of tourist destination to tour operators who work there, thus depriving the host communities of an important source of income. Then comes the attention to the impact of tourism on the natural and socio-cultural environments, in order to ensure that it is mitigated and that it does not compromise the uniqueness of the destination in the long term. And finally: tourism as a vehicle for mutual understanding and overcoming prejudices and then as a builder of dialogue and peace.

The UN initiative is perhaps not resonating as it deserves, having so far been discussed mostly within the circle of experts. On the other hand, in Armenia it captured the interest of a part of civil society that sees in sustainable tourism a positive resource for the country.

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