YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 2nd, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) hosted the AUA Ecotourism Conference, the first and largest gathering of its kind in Armenia.
The AUA Ecotourism Conference brought together more than 480 stakeholders, representing over 100 organizations and communities, from all corners of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The phenomenal turnout highlights the growing interest that exists in Armenia for ecotourism, despite its relative under-development.
A total of 11 sessions (3 general and 8 concurrent) engaged 40 speakers who presented their experiences, challenges and lessons learned in various fields related to ecotourism. The session topics included national strategy for ecotourism, wildlife-based tourism, food and agriculture in ecotourism, adventure tourism, status of trails and guidebooks serving ecotourists, and so on.
“We are very encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response we received from the conference participants,” says Oscar Alvarado, environmental expert at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and one of the key organizers of the conference. “We were told by many participants they want a similar event again, maybe even annually for the next few years. This shows that time is ripe for people in this field to share, network, and learn from each other’s efforts,” says Mr. Alvarado.
In order to build on the conference’s success, valuable conference materials such as interactive maps, a list of key events, and presentations and video/audio recordings of all the sessions will soon be available on AUA Acopian Center’s website: https://ace.aua.am/ecotourism/
“We should not underestimate or disregard the natural and cultural assets that we have. These are assets that we should treasure and share with the world, in a responsible, sustainable, and mutually beneficial way.” – Alen Amirkhanian, Director of Acopian Center for the Environment.
The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE) is a research center of the American University of Armenia. AUA ACE promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA ACE’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.