Armenia is one of the most ancient countries in the world existing since the times of Babylon, Assyria and Egypt and once counted among the great powers. Greek Historians first referred to the land of Armenia about 3000 years ago. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as the state religion in 301 AD. From Yerevan (capital of Armenia, founded in 782 BC), the miraculous Ararat Mountain with its eternal snow (5,165 m high) can be seen, where Noah's Ark landed after the Great Flood. Armenia's main tourist attractions are its warm climate, splendid mountains, beautiful forests, Lake Sevan (set in the mountains at more than 1,900 meters above see level), an Olympic skiing base in Tsakhkadzor and many archaeological sites, churches, monasteries and historical monuments, health spas in Jermuk. There are facilities for activities such as water sports, winter skiing, mountaineering, caving, hiking, horseback riding and fishing. Armenia has a number of spa resorts centered on medicinal springs that offers considerable potential for health cures. There are also opportunities for �ecotourism�, which include educational/ recreational field trips for bird watchers and botanists. And Yerevan offers a wide range of restaurants with excellent Armenian, European and Oriental cuisine, open-air cafes, casinos, clubs and very interesting museums and art galleries.
In 2007, Armenia welcomed 510,287 international tourists; an increase of 33.5% on 2006 and a CAGR of 26.7% since 2001. Whilst Armenian arrivals only represent 0.1% of all European arrivals (0.05% of World arrivals), growth rates are sustained well above the European CAGR of 3.44% and World CAGR of 4.67% for the same period. According to data for the first half of 2008, tourist arrivals increased by 13.3%, continuing the remarkable growth trend. According to data obtained through a year-long survey of international visitors, undertaken at all the border points of Armenia in 2006/7, the majority of visitors are from Russia (34.9%), Georgia (28.1%), Iran (7.8%), the USA (4.5%), France (3.5%), Germany (2.9%) and Ukraine (2.0%). The prominence of the source markets is unsurprising given the fact that these are also countries with a large number of Armenian Diaspora citizens. In fact, the same survey suggested that 62% of all international visitors have Armenian heritage.
The Armenian Tourism Development Agency (ATDA) (www.armeniainfo.am ) with a staff of more than sixteen employees, including customer service representatives, web designers, marketing and PR coordinators, as well as writers and agency executives, has actively pursued the development of Armenian tourism, both locally and globally, for more than two years. ATDA is chartered by the Government of the Republic of Armenia, with technical assistance provided by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and substantial funding from both the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Hovnanian International.
For more information see ADA publication on �Tourism� http://www.ada.am/our_publications/Armenian_Tourism_Investment_Handbook.pdf