Developing rural tourism through engaging local communityOct 16, 2017
On the first weekend of October, the Integrated Rural Tourism Development project initiated a Fam Trip (familiarization trip) for tour operators. The main idea of the trip was to show tour operators new spots, guest houses in Bjni in order for them to attract and bring tourists here. This way local community members will actively engage in rural tourism development process, thus creating alternative income generating tool for sustainable living.
More than 20 tour operators joined a day long trip to discover hidden wonders of Bjni. Trip started early in the morning and the first stop was Holy Mother of God church, where Father Aristakes, performed the liturgy and told guests about the history of the church. After service the group proceeded to the next destination, which was Mrs. Alvard’s house. Here the tour operators had a unique chance to see how to ‘’beat’’ beans in the field and prepare a very tasty bean soup.
After this delicious experience trip participants were ready to visit grandpa Ashot’s ‘’cellar-museum ‘’, where they found exquisite remains of art, discovered by Ashot while digging up around his house, had chance to try fresh nuts and enjoyed the beautiful view from Ashot’s house.
Cultural experience was followed by ‘’Arishta’’ cooking with Mrs. Paytsar, a welcoming hostess, who demonstrated every detail of making this traditional dish. Arishta is an Armenian food, made of flour, salt and water. Guests were amused and excited by this beautiful process and were impatient to taste the final outcome.
The last stop was beekeeper Artak’s house aka ‘’the path to paradise’’. Artak welcomed trip participants in his magical garden where he treated his guests with delicious honey and dried fruits.
The whole trip was a refreshing experience for tour operators as they had a chance to discover Bjni from a new perspective and later offer tourists the same exciting journey.
The Integrated Rural Tourism Development project plans to organize likewise trips on a regular basis in order to show tour operators new rural tourism attractions. UNDP values importance of economic growth and decent work, especially in such vulnerable areas as rural environment and implements the project with commitment to impact as many lives as possible.
The Integrated Rural Tourism Development project, which is financed by the Government of the Russian Federation and implemented by the UNDP in Armenia, aims to develop rural tourism as an income-generating activity in order to reduce rural poverty and create employment. The project is currently developing local infrastructure and supporting rural communities to develop into up-and-coming tourist destinations.