Destination Goris Open Education
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AUA Open Education Launches “Destination Goris” Initiative

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On September 8, 2020, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Open Education launched the Destination Goris initiative in the Syunik region of Armenia to enable the region to become a model for tourism and hospitality. The AUA Open Education initiative in the entire Syunik region is supported by the Manoogian Simone Foundation. The initiative aims to provide access to affordable, quality education for all residents of the Syunik region and provide opportunities for quality workforce development. 

In a pioneer move, AUA Open Education is focusing on Goris to improve the hospitality and tourism sector, including customer service in hotels, restaurants, and other service-providing entities in the tourism sector. Destination Goris aims to make Goris the choice destination of Armenia in 2021. More than 30 B&Bs, boutique hotels, and grand hotels will participate in the initiative. The first three demo hotels to begin the process of transformation have been selected, and each one will have an opportunity to become a demo hotel for its respective category. Over time, all other hotels and restaurants will be included in the process while all players in the market undergo general training and capacity-building workshops. The current demo hotels are Narek’s B&B (“bed and breakfast” category), Yeghevnut (“boutique hotel” category), and Mina (“large hotel” category). 

Beyond the concerted effort to advance the hospitality industry, the initiative will support local stakeholders in Goris to strengthen and promote tourism industry growth, working closely with the Municipality and organizations such as the Women’s Resource Development Center to strengthen their capacity and efforts. 

AUA Open Education has put together a group of hospitality and tourism industry experts — Sevag Demirjian, Varant Topalian, and Noubar Tatarian — to implement hands-on training and comprehensive consulting services. These hands-on elements will ensure tangible outcomes, such as the adoption of international standards and expertise to augment the economic value of the vibrant Syunik region.

The Destination Goris initiative’s overall goals are to ensure the ultimate guest experience for all visitors at the participating hotels and restaurants, create know-how in the hospitality industry, establish international hotel standards while preserving authenticity, make Goris one of the most sought destinations, show people the culinary jewel of Goris, and create job opportunities for local youth.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.