YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) hosted its second annual Ecotourism Conference on April 15, 2017. The conference focused on four main topics: national policy and solutions, regional potential (capacity and standards), local potential (capacity and standards), and matchmaking and networking. The purpose of the Conference was to accelerate the development of ecotourism in Armenia by offering a platform for exchange of ideas and experiences, as well as creating a network of stakeholders.
The AUA Ecotourism Conference brought together representatives from more than 100 organizations and communities from all corners of Armenia, including Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh). More than 600 people attended the conference including participants from rural communities, tour operators, NGOs, development agencies, and government institutions. An Ecotourism Expo was held in conjunction with the conference, where around 20 organizations showcased their organic products, natural cosmetics, informational materials, hiking and rock climbing equipment, mountain and electric bikes. The sizable turnout highlighted the growing interest that exists in Armenia for ecotourism and the myriad opportunities for it.
“The most uninteresting places can become very interesting in terms of tourism, if there are interesting people. They change everything. People are our greatest resource. Take the example of Kalavan, where we were able to use our people’s potential to make a small and distant village interesting for thousands of tourists within several years”, Ghukasyan said.
Further breakout session topics included fundraising opportunities to support ecotourism development, ecotourism and national policy, asset-based community development, festival dos and don’ts, sustainable harvest and traditional food, B&Bs, adventure and exercise tourism, marketing and branding of Armenia’s ecotourism potential, rural tourism, and more.
With the objective of increasing the conference’s reach beyond the day of the event, ACE has made freely available materials such as presentations and video recordings on its website.
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.
AUA Ecotourism Conference 2017 Media Coverage