Tourism focused businesses are some of the many businesses that have been harshly affected by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though some sectors have started to recover in recent months, tourism focused businesses are still weathering this storm as they face uncertainty as to when people will once again feel safe to travel. In Armenia in particular, 2019 was a record breaking year for tourism with 1.9 million tourists travelling to the country. This tourism boom helped create jobs and drive economists to predict some of the highest ever GDP growth numbers for the country. No one could have predicted how vast the impacts of COVID-19 would be on economies around the world and Armenia has not been immune to the effects.
The Armenia Support Fund (ASF), with help from it’s donors, is proud to have been able to provide financial assistance to five tourism focused businesses in Armenia through its Small Business Support Grant program.
Read below to learn about the entrepreneurial spirit and on-going resilience of these ASF grant awardees:
Ever since the company was established in 2014 Kabayan Tours has concentrated its efforts in producing quality travel, responding to the needs of the times while anticipating the demands of the future. The company has worked with tourists from many countries with the goal of highlighting all Armenia has to offer. Due to the pandemic, the tourism industry in Armenia has come to a halt. In response, Kabayan tours has launched a program to digitally promote Armenia as a place of rest and relaxation. They are working to produce content and market it through Youtube in an effort to help promote tourism in Armenia and help the travel agency industry as a whole.
Star Tours was launched by two sisters in 2017 with a focus on the Chinese market. Over the years, they have been successful in providing cultural and adventure tours to tourists. However, this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic the tourism industry has taken a huge loss. The company had big hopes this year for a large amount of organized tours that eventually did not happen.
“We were one of the Armenian companies that suffered the most because of Covid-19, as China, our main labor market, was the epicenter of the infection. Although the infection seems to be receding, it is still unknown when the Chinese citizens will start traveling and visiting Armenia again.”
With the financial assistance granted them by the Armenia Support Fund Small Business Support Grant, Star Tours was able to pay their rents and utilities to get them through some of the toughest months of this pandemic. The company has already started looking for ways to expand their business into other markets and is excited for what the future of their business holds.
Vaneni Travel Studio
Vaneni Travel Studio is a travel company focused on the Russian market. Unique to this business is that the business is family-owned and family run. Impacted by COVID-19, the family has worked hard to keep the company a float and all the family members employed. Financial assistance from the Armenia Support Fund helped contribute to overdue rents and paying the salaries for registered employees.
Check out their Instagram for some beautiful
photos of Armenia: https://www.instagram.com/vaneni_studio/
Independent Tour Guides
The Armenia Support Fund is proud to have been able to provide financial assistance to many independent Tour Guides in Armenia. These guides have run successful private tours for individuals, families and groups for many years. This year, however, was quite different. As ASF looks to help those impacted by COVID-19, it was important to the team that we help tour companies and tour guides alike. These entrepreneurial individuals are part of the backbone of the Armenian economy and a critical part of how we keep our cultural spirit and traditions alive.