3. Cultural and creative sectors
Last update: March, 2023
The cultural policy of RA is aimed at preserving and popularizing the historical and cultural heritage, ensuring broad public participation in cultural life, implementing broad cultural propaganda and encouraging the flow of citizens to cultural institutions. The programme objectives of the Government in the field of cultural heritage are to:
- introduce modern management systems in museums, libraries and other cultural heritage institutions;
- implement cultural programmes (festivals, master classes, etc.) in order to transfer knowledge, technical and technological skills, abilities from the bearers of intangible cultural heritage;
- improve the legal framework in the field of immovable monuments of history and culture, clarify the rights and responsibilities of state administration, regional administration and local self-government bodies, private investors and the relationships between them, improve the mechanisms for granting the use of immovable monuments of history and culture and encourage financial investment flows;
- in cooperation with international organizations and the private sector, improve tourism infrastructure development programmes, to support the increase of Armenia's access to the international tourism market;
- support the development of tourism in communities, the restoration of local traditions;
- create an information database for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
One of the main directions of the cultural policy of RA is also the protection of the intangible cultural heritage, its publicization, the study of cultural practices and their dissemination, etc.
The Law on Intangible Cultural Heritage of RA defines it as the customs, traditions, rites, forms of ideas and expressions, knowledge and skills, recognized by the public, groups, and in some cases by individuals as part of their cultural heritage. Intangible cultural values also refer to folklore, language, dialects and sayings, place names, content of emblems and other national symbols, traditional crafts, national customs, traditions, holidays, rituals, social life, forms and rules of behaviour, folk art, the economy, and the cultural information stored in scientific and educational institutions, archives, libraries, legal entities and individuals.
Recently, intangible heritage has been the subject of serious transformations, however the interest toward it, especially among the youth is increasing. This is evidenced by the number of activities, programmes and multi-disciplinary activities of non-governmental organizations aimed at the preservation of heritage, singing, dancing, handicrafts, handicrafts, folk theatre groups, etc.
Currently, state policy RA on the protection, protection and popularization of intangible heritage is regulated on the basis of RA laws and UNESCO international conventions. Thus,
in 2006 The Republic of Armenia ratified UNESCO's Convention "On the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage" (2003).
In 2009 the National Assembly of RA adopted the Law "On Intangible Cultural Heritage", which regulates the legal relations arising during the processes of preservation of intangible cultural heritage including the processes of inventory, preparation of lists, identification, documentation, research, application, restoration of intangible cultural values, protection of property rights to these values, preservation of the cultural heritage of the Republic of Armenia, international cultural cooperation, cultural communication of the peoples of the Republic of Armenia and other states, defines the rights and responsibilities of individuals and legal entities in that field, as well as the authorities of state bodies.
The following applications of the Republic of Armenia were registered in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity of UNESCO: "Duduk and his music" (2008), "Art of cross stones. The knowledge on khachkar and khachkar making" (2010), "Sasna tsrer or performance manifestations of the epic of David of Sassoon" (2012), "Lavash. traditional bread preparation, significance and cultural manifestations in Armenia" (2014), "Kochari. traditional group dance" (2017), "Armenian calligraphy and its cultural manifestations" (2019). The permanent research on tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Armenia is being carried out by numerous academic and cultural institutions of Armenia such as the Yerevan State University, Institutes of Archeology and Ethnography, Art, Literature, Language of the National Academy of Sciences, "Hovhannes Sharambeyan Center of Folk Creativity", "Museum of Wood Art", "Yeghishe Charents", Museum of Literature and Art" SNOCs, etc.
As a result of the 44-day Artsakh war of 2020, the preservation and protection of the Armenian heritage became a primary issue for RA considering the Azerbaijani ambitions to destroy and expropriate the Armenian cultural heritage. Taking into account these dangers, after 2020, a number of organizations aimed at the preservation of cultural heritage were formed: "Monitoring of the Cultural Heritage of Artsakh", "Monitoring of the Heritage of the Caucasus", "Save Armenian Monuments", "Monuments of Artsakh" and others. The main goal of such organizations and programmes is to publicize the Armenian heritage of Artsakh, organize international monitoring and control over the preservation of Armenian heritage by using all possible mechanisms.
Last update: March, 2023
As of October 2022, the previous number of libraries in the territory of the Republic of Armenia (675) had shrunk to 370, 12 of which are managed by the Ministry, and the rest by the municipal authority, including 35 accredited libraries. Shortening the number of libraries depended on the ongoing process of consolidation of administrative communities and optimization of the community management and funding processes.
Currently, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport considers the preservation and development of libraries operating in the territory of Armenia as one of the primary tasks, including:
- ensuring long-term preservation and accessibility of printed heritage,
- creating a more comfortable environment for intellectual entertainment centres and readers,
- the safe preservation of library collections, their use, their restoration, targeted replenishment, digitization of ancient books, periodicals of cultural significance and unique book specimens with minimal circulation,
- popularization of the literary heritage of Armenia and Armenians published and preserved abroad,
- training of personnel with professional knowledge in line with current requirements in the library sector.
The programme "Creation of a Digitization Centre and Public Electronic Reading Room in the National Library" launched in 2012 in the National Library of Armenia continues introducing modern information technologies in the libraries of the Ministry and increasing the efficiency of the services provided. It included digitization of the collections of printed press, books and periodical editions published before 1960, which is about to be finalized. The digitalized versions can be found at the sites "Armenian Periodical Press" (www.tert.nla.am) and "Armenian book" (www.haygirk.nla.am).
Library development initiatives include programmes providing access to people with disabilities, such as the "Family Librarian" programme (the Lori and Shirak provinces of RA), that provides library services for people with mobility difficulties and disabilities at home, The "Arev" information communication programme provides reading opportunities for those who are blind or partially sighted with Braille and audio books, etc. Currently, the re-equipment of community libraries is being implemented within the framework of the "Development of the material and technical base of public libraries" programme. It also envisages the purchase of 70,000 new books for provincial libraries.
National Archive of Armenia
The archival work in Armenia was started in 1923. In 1963, all of the main cities’ archives of Armenia were centralized under the management of the State Central Archives and were tuned into its branches. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country-members of the Cooperation of Newly Independent States (CIS) agreed on the development of international cooperation in archival work. In 1996, along with fundamental changes in the administrative territorial division, the system of archives also underwent some structural changes. According to the decision of the Prime-Minister in 1996, 6 central and state archives of Yerevan city and 10 marzes of the republic, with their 41 branches, started operating in the system of the Archives Department. In 2002 the department of archival affairs under the RA government was reorganized as a separate division of the archival affairs agency of the staff of the RA Ministry of Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports. 2004 was marked by further improvement of the legislative field of archival affairs of the Republic. The National Assembly adopted the new Law of the Republic of Armenia "On Archival Affairs". During the next 15 years, the RA government also carried out radical systemic reforms in the sector. Currently, the "National Archive of Armenia" state non-commercial organization has 11 regional (including Yerevan city) branches and 29 territorial representations operating under its direct authority. As per 2006, archival funds counted 1, 5,759 collections with 3,419,353 storage units.
Last update: March, 2023
The government programme for 2021-2026 sets the following goals for the performing arts:
- creation of skills and resources for the development of marketing strategies, segmentation, and targeting in organizations of the field,
- creation of fund-raising capacities and mechanisms in cultural institutions,
- optimization of state non-commercial organizations, centralization of financial means and professional resources, professional development of a capacity building programme and corresponding legal acts,
- establishment and strengthening of institutions of producers and directors,
- development of qualitative and quantitative standards of the effectiveness of organizations,
- Formation of a loyal, permanent audience (audience),
- Development and activation of the institute of art critics,
- creation of a favorable environment for creative, talented individuals
- introduction and establishment of the institute of art patronage, development of the legislative framework for it, - formation of mechanisms of public opinion and state encouragement of art patronage,
- improvement of material and technical foundations of cultural institutions, aimed at the achievement of high-value artistic results (audio and video equipment, musical instruments, stage equipment, furnishing of halls and stages, heating, security systems),
- analysis and mapping of material resources and professional potential of creative unions.
In accordance with some goals and tasks of the programme, a number of state support programmes are being implemented.
Since 2012, the National Cinema Centre of Armenia has been a member of the European audiovisual observatory, ensuring participation in the observatory's activities and conferences on specialized audiovisual art issues. In 2016 Armenia became a member of the board of the Eurimage Foundation. Throughout four years of membership, Armenia has been able to present annually internationally competitive film projects that have received grants from a European foundation.
In cooperation with the professional structures for cinematography, grant programmes for the discovery and encouragement of young creative potential and state support in the field of cinematography are being developed. In order to decentralize cultural activities, the programme "Regional Film Screenings" is implemented to make people from regions familiar with Armenian film art.
In recent years, the international film festivals of "Golden Apricot", "ReAnimania", "Rolan" children's films, "Kin", "Apricot Tree" documentaries and "ONE SHOT" short films have been organized in Armenia with the support of the state (interrupted during the war and pandemic of 2020-2021). They have already become traditional and well-known in the regional and international arena.
In 2018, the -"Gaiff Pro" regional film market, which promotes the factor of international cooperation, was launched alongside the "Golden Apricot" Yerevan International Film Festival.
In the same year, the "Hamo Bek-Nazar: Classics of Armenian Cinema" project was launched by the "National Cinema Centre of Armenia", within the framework of which, thanks to international cooperation, the heritage of Armenian cinema is being restored and digitized.
Since 2019, the "National Film Centre of Armenia" SNOC has implemented a new regulation on "Contesting and financing of film projects", the provisions of which are in line with international standards and regulate effective cooperation between film producers and the state, as well as promoting international cooperation.
Since 2019, a new independent artistic council has also been operating in "Hayk Documentary Film Studio" state non-profit organization, which is guided by the principle of selecting only quality film projects and practices in accordance with international standards.
Since 2019, the draft RA Law "On Cinematography" is being developed, which should regulate the principles and main directions of state policy in the field of cinematography, international cooperation, as well as the procedure and conditions for providing state support to cinematography.
There are more than 50 theatre organizations operating in Armenia: theatres operating under state, community, city government and independent theatre groups.
With the Ministry's annual and medium-term expenditure programmes, theatre buildings and structures are renovated, equipped with modern light and sound equipment, support is provided for the participation of theatre collectives in international competitions and festivals, works of modern playwrights are acquired, and complex programmes promoting the development of theatre art are developed and implemented.
For decades, international festivals have been held in the field: "Hayfest", "Armmono" mono performances, "Tumanian fairy tale day" puppet theatres, "Theatrical Lori", Yerevan Shakespearean International Theatre and L. International pantomime festivals named after Yengibaryan.
The sphere of theatre art is regulated by the laws of the Republic of Armenia "On the Basics of Cultural Legislation" and "On State Non-Commercial Organizations". In December 2007, the draft of the RA Law "On Theatre and Theatrical Activities" was presented to the RA National Assembly for discussion. Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinema has branches in Vanadzor, Gyumri and Goris, as well as Kh. Armenian State Pedagogical University named after Abovyan. Fifteen theatres are operating under the management of the Ministry of Education and Culture, including both drama and musical theatres. The significant budget increase allowed a significant increase in the number of performances. Thus, the number of performances of the National Opera and Ballet theatre has increased from 68 (2013) to approximately 180 (2021) yearly.
Last update: March, 2023
The visual arts include painting, sculpture, graphics, and photography. There are more than 1 000 professionals in the sphere of visual arts in Armenia. After the collapse of the Soviet system of state protectionism of arts, many artists and artisans found themselves in a rather difficult situation without state support and unfamiliar with the new ways of marketing their art. "Marketisation" of art resulted in drastic changes for the whole sphere. A comparatively favourable situation was created for artisanry and handicrafts which quickly found their niche in the tourism consumption market. The most negative impact was imposed by the rupture of all old links and connections of institutions and individuals representing the Armenian Art with their foreign colleagues and counterparts, caused by the lack of financial capacities and lack of higher professionals. Armenian artists lost their privileged status and state support. Currently, arts are promoted and marketed through private galleries (10) and interested individuals, which nevertheless have rather limited capacities. In the absence of targeted state support in technical, financial and other issues, very few of the Armenian artists are able to reach international recognition, though many of them are really talented and deserve to be represented at the highest levels of the international art market. Another issue is preservation and continuity of the Armenian traditions of visual art from the Middle-Ages, and 19-20th centuries. During 2000-2021 the situation was stabilized due to private entrepreneurship, patronage of art by local oligarchs and affluent members of the Diaspora. Thus, a number of museums and galleries were renovated by the Lincy Foundation, established by the American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. However, overwhelming corruption and the lack of a systemic approach reduced all efforts to a minimum. Although the state strategy plan of 2007-2011 for visuals arts envisioned some systemic developments, most of them remained on paper.
After the Velvet revolution, there was a need to address old problems, corruption and chronic mis-funding in the sphere of visual arts. Thus, the Creative Unions were revised, audited and their management changed. All these measures brought a reanimation of their activities. Thus, currently, The Union of Artists of Armenia is organizing more than 100 events yearly, exhibitions, master-classes, etc.
The strategic plan for 2021-2025 envisioned some developments for modern art, such as:
- formation of marketing, segmentation, targeting, positioning knowledge and resources in organizations of the sector,
- creation of fund-raising capacities and mechanisms in cultural institutions
- optimization of state non-commercial organizations, concentration of financial resources and professional resources, development of a professional capacity development programme and legal acts,
- establishment and strengthening of institutes of producers and directors,
- the development of qualitative and quantitative standards for the effectiveness of the organizations' activity,
- formation of loyal, permanent audiences,
- formation and activation of the Institute of Art Critics,
- formation of the institution of activities of self-employed (independent) creators (artists); clarification of legal, socio-economic status and relations,
- creation of a favorable environment for creative, talented individual artists,
- the introduction and establishment of an institution for the unity of culture, the formation of the legislative framework and legal regulations in the field,
- the formation of the public rating of the single entity, the state encouragement of the single entity,
- improvement of property and material-technical base of cultural institutions, provision of high-value artistic output (property) (lighting equipment, musical instruments, stage equipment, furnishing of halls and stages, heating, security systems),
- analysis and mapping of property resources and professional potential of creative unions.
It must be noted, that serious shortening of corruption practices and more transparency in art institutions led to more effective management of resources and a more active environment. The pandemic and the Second Karabakh war of 2020 have seriously affected the sphere and currently it is still in the reanimation process. The waves of immigration from Russia after the beginning of Russian-Ukrainian war of 2022 also impacted the sphere by bringing in a lot of specialists in visual arts.
 Interview with Suren Safaryan, the current head of the Union of Artists, https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31686769.html
Last update: March, 2023
Crafts and art industries sector has been mainstays of Armenian national culture since Soviet times. Armenian artisans, jewelers, and souvenir-makers have been traditionally well-known in the region and beyond. Stone-carving, jewelry, carpet-weaving, lace-making, embroidery, ceramics, and other crafts are among those crafts and arts the Armenian artisans are specialized in. In the Soviet times the activities of artisans, training, and the centralized trade of art industries products were regulated by the Professional or Creative Unions. In the post-Soviet time, crafts and art industries fell out of the state regulations and control and developed according to the market, especially tourism market trends. In 2014 authorities recognized the need to encourage private investments with pubic regulation mechanisms. The Culture Development strategy 2008-2012 already contained some relevant goals, but lacked an associated action plan and evaluation. It stated freedom of cultural and creative activities; self-dependence of cultural organisations; development of new model on decentralisation of management and multi-source finance; and the inclusion of an annual mandatory line in the budget to obtain/purchase cultural and creative products. This new policy orientation resulted in some pilot projects in smaller towns and regions such as Goris, Gyumri and Sisian. However, new policies did not reflect the whole situation and systemic problems and a gap remained between policy-makers and the sector professionals, preventing their interests and visions to be discussed and their feedback to be reflected upon and integrated into policy-making. Lack of transparency, access to information on cultural projects as well as lack of clear vision of systemic approaches by policy-makers seriously affected the development of the field. Similarly, professional unions did not reflect young practitioners or new creative areas' expectations and interests, and were not going to take over a needed advocacy role. Nevertheless, there have been some “business” hubs or centres taking over the role of promoters of creative industries such as business centres in the American University of Armenia, and Sharambeyan’s centre in Dilijan (Tavoush province).
Along with the development of tourism, the sector gradually becomes more interesting for private donors: Diaspora and international organisations' investments (USAID, OCDE, UN); some active donors in the country (AGBU Armenian General Benevolent Union and Cafesjian Centre for the Arts) and foreign corporations (e.g. Viva-cell-mts and Orange). There are also private independent initiatives to bridge the gap between arts and culture such as cultural cafés (e.g. Artbridge), cultural centres (e.g. Mirzoyan library) and galleries that propose arts and culture programmes. Also, a big market and cultural hub is the Yerevan “Vernissage” market of art production, established at the end of 1980's. Currently, it is located in the very centre of the city, occupies about 3 hectares and represents the biggest concentration of craftsmen and artisans in Armenia. Local authorities have implemented several projects on renovation and improvement of the territory and facilities and today it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Armenia.
Since the adoption of a national tourism strategy in 2008, the number of tourists as well as accommodation capacity is increasing yearly, except for 2020-2021 due to the pandemic and the II Karabakh War. Currently, the development of tourism is one of the accepted economic development priorities for 2021-2025. The new strategy includes organization and implementation of a big number of state funded cultural events such as performing and visual arts, crafts, gastronomy, local cultures festivals, city days. All these events positively affect the development of cultural and art industries. Special craft and artisan markets are usually organized during these days.
Nevertheless, no special policies on art and cultural industries have been developed yet.
 The main source for this chapter is Farinha, Cristina, Developing cultural and creative industries in Armenia, report for EU Eastern Partnership programme, 2018
Last update: March, 2023
The role of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports in book publishing is coordination and regulation of the field. In the implementation of state-funded programmes in the field of book publishing, the important role belongs to advisory councils attached to the Ministry. The councils help in taking professional opinion-based decisions and avoid subjective approaches. When forming the councils, each member's professional training, interdependence with both publishing houses and government structures is taken into account in order to create an impartial and transparent atmosphere.
The programmes of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports in the field of book publishing are aimed at solving the following problems: equal development of all aspects of the field of literature; preservation, development, dissemination and popularization of the literary-cultural heritage through literary products; reproduction of the creative potential of society and creating conditions for development; creating favorable conditions for international cooperation in the field of book publishing.
Within the framework of the library facilities improvement programme, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia acquires and distributes to the libraries newly published, valuable books, to meet the modern reading demand of libraries, and encourage the publication of professional, critical and fiction literature through the Creative and Research Activities Grant Programme, established in 2019 to support projects in cultural studies, fiction-writing, and literary criticism. The programme is somewhat filling the gap between the state policy in the independent cultural field, shifting the emphasis from the publishing-printing stage of book creation to the creative stage. The prospective goal of the project is to promote the creation of significant and lasting texts, thus contributing to the development of fiction and social sciences. The grant programme is going to be recurrent and will fund projects on an annual basis. Another programme "Armenian literature in translations" established in 2016 is aimed at supporting and promoting Armenian-language literature throughout the world. The programme provides support to foreign publishing houses that expressed a desire to publish Armenian classical or modern literature in a foreign language in their country. The foreign publishing houses can get acquainted with the procedure and schedule for submitting an application for funding at the website "armlit.am".
With the support of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Armenia hosts a separate booth at international book exhibitions and festivals (including: Minsk, Paris, Almaty, London, Tehran, Thessaloniki, Warsaw, New York, Moscow, Gothenburg, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Bologna, Moscow, Leipzig, etc.,) and organizes its own book festivals. Ensuring equal competition in the Armenian book publishing market and development of copyright and related rights laws and policies are the key issues for the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia. To handle them properly, meetings with publishers, agents, and writers are regularly organized.
In the field of Print and electronic media, special support is provided to ethnic minorities by the programme financing the coverage of community culture, cultural events, and public life in the print and electronic media published in Armenia. Thanks to the project, ethnic minorities are able to preserve and develop their national language, folklore, culture, and traditions.
Last update: March, 2023
Article 20 of the Law on the Audiovisual media (adopted in 2020) defines the release/outlet data of the television and radio companies, as well as the mandatory procedure for making them public. Whilst applying for licences, television and radio companies submit full packages of data about themselves to the relevant body, which is the Television and Radio Commission. However, the products of television and radio companies are consumed in the online domain too via their official websites and social network pages. Moreover, there are television and radio companies, which in addition to their official websites and social network pages, also have online media. For example, the official website of the Public Television 1tv.am and the news portal 1Lurer.am, the official website of Shant television company shanttv.am and its news portal shantnews.am. The radio company Aurora in addition to its official website has a news portal auroranews.am. The television company Free News broadcasts its products to the online audience not via a separate website but the online media outlet freenews.am, which had been operational much earlier and its various social network platforms. In fact, in Armenia too the former differences between television and radio companies and classic online media outlets in the online domain are gradually reducing.
There are 41 television and radio companies with state coverage and local/marz companies and they all have different levels of online presence. 78% of them (32 television and radio company) offer their online products via at least 1 official website and 2-3 social networks, whereas 22% (9 television and radio companies) offer their online products via social networks only. These companies either do not have official websites (yet) or their websites are not operational. The most used social network is Facebook (with 42 (95%) out of 44 websites having a presence here). Next in the order of reduction comes the YouTube (27 websites - 61%), Instagram (17 websites -39%), Twitter (13 websites-30%), Telegram (4 websites -9%), OK (3 websites -7%), VK (2 websites - 5%), and Linkedin (2 websites - 5%). Not only audiovisual media with state coverage but also a number of local/marz media have wide online presence. However, this kind of online presence is not directly proportional to the level of transparency of the audio-visual media. According to the referred research (Indication and Transparency of Audio-visual media, by “Region” research centre), 20% of audio-visual media in Armenia are identified as transparent, 55% - partly transparent and 25% - non-transparent media .
Although Armenia has been through different periods of limited and free democracies, the audiovisual and interactive media have never been seriously under ideological pressure and their freedom of expression was generally observed. However, in the periods of limited democracy the access to public funds for some sphere actors might be artificially limited.
 Identification and Transparency of Audiovisual Media in the Online Domain – 2021
 Identification and Transparency of Audiovisual Media in the Online Domain – 2021
Last update: March, 2023
As the free market does not cover all needs and demands in the sphere of music, the state is taking over some development and promotion tools to support national music art in Armenia. The main goals of state policy implementation in the field of music remain:
- creation of state-funded concert programmes,
- purchase of new works of modern composers,• internationalization and popularization of national musical art,
- providing favorable conditions for the competitiveness and creative activities of young composers and musicians,
- by supporting participation of Armenian musicians in international music contests and festivals,
- ensuring preservation, development, dissemination and popularization of music, new programmes, ideas, creative initiatives;
- strengthening of cooperation between creative groups, creative individuals and international cultural organizations operating in the Republic of Armenia.
The state entities operating in the field of music are: the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia, State National Academic Choir of Armenia, Komitas National Quartet, National Centre of Chamber Music, National Centre of Folk Music, State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia, Centre of Armenian Spiritual Music, State Philharmonic of Armenia, Pop Jazz Orchestra of Armenia, State Song Theatre of Armenia.
The state also funds and controls the educational centres in the field of music such as music schools, the Yerevan State Music Pedagogical College after Arno Babajanyan, the Romanos Melikyan State Music College, the Gyumri Kara-Murza State Music College, the Gavar State Music College, and the Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas. The Ministry's annual and medium-term budget programmes support the development of modern, classical, folk music, the participation of musicians in international competitions and festivals, the purchase of new works by modern composers, and institutional capacity development programmes for music organizations, including renovation, modern technologies and equipment.
Since 2019, some projects of institutional reorganization and optimization are being developed. For instance, in order to improve the activities of the National Centre of Folk Music, to increase its efficiency, to provide a decent rehearsal space and a concert hall, there is a draft project to merge the National Centre of Folk Music with the State Philharmonic of Armenia. Such projects may be hard to accept for some beneficiaries, so they require some time to discuss and to adapt.
Last update: March, 2023
The sphere of design and creative services is still not included in the vision of the RA state policy. This area is mainly handled by private profit-making organizations, which turn it into cultural businesses. Most of these organizations operate in Yerevan, and engage in the organization of cultural events (weddings, festivals, etc.) and provision of different types of cultural services (design, architectural services, advertising, etc.). Their activities are regulated by general legislation and, particularly, the tax and labor law of RA.
Last update: March, 2023
The RA Statistical Committee conducts tourism statistics according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) methodology and defines an international tourist as anyone who travels for rest, medical treatment, visiting relatives, business, religious or other purposes for not less than 24 hours and not more than 1 consecutive year. Thus, in 2020, according to the data of the Statistical Committee published on February 5 (before the pandemic), the number of tourists arriving in Armenia increased by about 1 million 300 thousand in the ten years between 2009 and 2019. According to the data of the Ministry of the Economy, among the tourists arriving in Armenia, about 31 percent are Diaspora Armenians, 69 percent are foreigners. Almost half of the tourists in Armenia are attracted by cultural tourism, 19 percent come to see the nature of Armenia, and 16 percent come for entertainment. Business, adventure and resort tourism are preferred by 13 percent of the total, and 3 percent come to Armenia for long-term tourism.
The country development plan for 2021-2025 envisions a number of activities to encourage and support tourism development, and among them, the organization of more gastro and other types of cultural festivals and cultural events to attract more tourists. Also, it is supposed that the state strategy on preservation of historical, cultural, and both tangible and intangible heritage would contribute to increasing tourist flows to Armenia. Creative industries are tightly associated with tourism, as tourists are the main consumers of the production of those industries. Therefore, the state or community funded cultural events or festivals pay special attention to involving representatives of these industries in the projects. In some places, markets of creative arts and souvenir production are persistently organized near the historical and religious monuments under the patronage of local authorities or local cultural/development organizations (e.g. the arts and crafts market in the village Gosh near the Goshavank monastery).