January 29, 2018 - 15:58 AMT
Armenia eco-camps entice more and more foreign travelers
Green tourism on the rise in Syunik
Armen Kazaryan and Siranish Vardanyan, a married couple who moved from the Russian city of Sochi to Armenia, founded an eco-camp in Kapan, Syunik province in 2015. The venue is pretty popular among ecotourism aficionados, including cyclists, climbers and hikers from around the world. The couple have resolved to turn the initiative into a social entrepreneurship and develop Armenia’s southern communities by involving locals in the tourism market.

Syunik as an ecotourism hub in Armenia

Foreigners account for the majority of those visiting the eco-camps in Kapan and the village of Arajadzor.

“Nature in Armenia’s south is extremely appealing to them. We managed to host some 300 tourists in 2017,” Siranush said in a conversation with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“We offer camping and guided services, as well as educational and rehabilitation programs.”

The camps house permaculture gardens where the travelers and volunteers can cultivate and enjoy the herbs and fruits they have grown themselves.

The tents are made from recycled raw materials, with those behind the initiative have also mapping mountain climbing routes with a length of 100km.

Also, the camp helps tackle the issue of employment in the community.

The profits, meanwhile, are spent to renovate community attractions, infrastructures, as well as implement educational projects about organic agriculture among the locals.

Social entrepreneurship generates sense of satisfaction

According to Siranush, the lack of provincial infrastructures is one of the biggest obstacles to engaging in social entrepreneurship in the country’s south, and the situation is further complicated by the shortage of of specialists, especially in the field of marketing.

“This model of business is easily accepted by the society. We are happy to unveil Armenia’s biggest wealth - a.k.a nature - to the world on the one hand, and to promote community development on the other,” she said.

Nane Manasyan / PanARMENIAN.Net