2015 was a year of achievements for the tourism sphere. The number of foreign tourists visiting the NKR increased by about 13 percent.
Significantly increased the number of visitors of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic from the Republic of Armenia.
In particular, in 2015, more than 1,000 travel packages were sold as part of the social package for vacation in Artsakh, instead of 500 realized in the previous year.
The possibilities of receiving guests also expanded. During 2015, the number of hotels increased by two. Currently, 43 hotels, with about 1,300 rooms, are operating in Artsakh. Moreover, visitors have the opportunity of choice, depending on the price and preference. For example, fans of the traditional style prefer the Park Hotel Artsakh. This is one of the oldest buildings in Stepanakert. It was built in 1847, housing one of the barracks of the Vladikavkaz regiment. That period, Artsakh was part of Tsarist Russia. Later, the city polyclinic was located here. And just a few years ago, the building was made a hotel. The menu includes mainly national dishes, meeting the wishes of the guests. All the ingredients are of local production.
One of the most European-style hotels of Artsakh, the Vallex Garden Hotel Complex, has come to the same decision, though not immediately. The hotel has been functioning here since 2012. It was built according to European standards. Initially, European dishes dominated in the menu. But, it turned out that the guests, especially arriving from abroad, are more interested in the local cuisine. So, both European and local dishes, in a ratio of about 60 to 40, are cooked here. The products are bought at the local market.
Hotels try to expand the range of services, to provide variety and comfort, but they cannot predetermine the route of travels.
Those responsible for the sphere are dealing with the programs on promoting and advertising Artsakh's places of interest. In 2015, certain works on complementing the Northern and Southern tourism areas with new sightseeing places were conducted. In the north, the popularity of Tigranakert continues to grow; a lot of tourists want to see the monastery of Dadivank and Dzhermadzhur. And in the south, the Togh princely palace is gradually turning into a full-fledged tourist's destination.
The wine and mulberry festivals, which have become traditional, also contribute to the popularization of thje places of interest.
New and ancient sights are estimated by the travel agencies of Artsakh. In 2015, four operators and one travel agency operated in the NKR; licenses were granted to four places of interest. Varanda Travel is one of the old agencies. According to Director Arous Adamyan, tourists can arrive in Artsakh and see almost all the places of interest in 3 or 4 days. This year, they will try to develop the domestic tourism. Almost every day, excursions are provided by bus from Stepanakert to various places of interest of the Republic. Since mid-June, the company has been implementing programs on intensifying the domestic tourism program. Registration takes place in the office. On the territory adjacent to the office almost daily buses to Gandzasar, Amaras, Tigranakert, Shushi, Dzhermadzhur.
The estimation of all this is given, first of all, by the tourists. In general, foreign tourists spent in Artsakh 3 billion AMD. In the first quarter of this year, increase in the number of foreign tourists by about 10% was registered. However, the April war had a negative impact on the sphere. The information about the escalation of tensions can keep many tourists from the desire to visit Artsakh. In order to compensate the predicted downturn, Spokesman for the Prime Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Artak Beglaryan initiated a network flashmob called "Come to Artsakh". "After spending their vacations in Artsakh, thanks to this flashmob, all Armenians will render their moral and material assistance to it, especially after the Azerbaijani aggression", wrote Beglaryan on his Facebook page. Within minutes, the action was supported by well-known politicians, public figures, journalists, sportsmen, and bloggers.
And how all this affects the statistics, we will see at the end of the year.