Armenia is an absolutely fascinating country. This landlocked and very mountainous republic in the heart of the Caucasus, probably should be one of the most visited places on Earth. Sadly, not so many people remember the nearby mountains of Ararat, a fellow named Noah, let alone the power of the Hittite Empire – let alone the modern wonders and people of this place.
Along with their online engagement, perhaps we can show in pictures a bit of Armenia’s legacy of wonder? As an entry note, tourism to Armenia in 2010 so far has been a lot better than 2009. According to official statistical, 487,902 tourists visited Armenia in Jan-Sept 2010, a near 16 percent rise over the year before. One can only surmise that with greater outreach will come more visitors to this fantastic destination.
To get Armenia’s digital footfalls so far into perspective, one glance at their Welcome to Armenia website says a lot. Just how accurate a reflection of the site’s operators, Armenian Tourism Development Agency, cannot be known yet. But, depicting Armenia as a poor country slightly out of pace with the rest of the world digitally, is not an unfair summation. The site is not horrible, but the design shows either age or misunderstanding of how to add to user experience. I think the screens below will reveal this.
Tiny text and a hundred pull downs does not a cutting edge travel site make. No social media outreach, limited media of any kind, and Web 1.0 characteristics spell “digital stone age” for this writer. This is actually even more woeful for the simple fact that the information is available, Armenia’s welcome information site has enough content for a great start at informing visitors. It’s just that no one will take the time to investigate on such a dated looking site.
I hate to be so negative, really, but this is the official welcome for people online for the whole country!
Rather than visit Armenia’s tourism site, any visitor would be better off learning about this wonderful country just heading over to Wikipedia. Such a place, so wonderful a people as Armenians are, and the digital storefront introducing them – welcoming the world, looks to have had as much aforethought as disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. How can people be asked to assume so much?
In the digital realm, your website is all you have to show people (very quickly) who you are. With world travel booking migrating online so quickly, many emerging countries will find investment in their online brand even more powerful than brick and mortar marketing and presence.
Armenia holds so many treasures for visitors. Eastern Turkey and Armenia as a destination, are a wealth of unheard of discovery in themselves. And the proximity of Armenia via its central location would seem to suggest it as a great regional visitation hub. But this has not happened as of yet. We hope the people from Armenia reading this will urge their officials to portray more beautifully themselves and their home. I leave you with the haunting face of an Armenian girl from the ancient former capital of Ani – legendary Ani.
A special thanks to perhaps Armenia’s most famous photographer Onnik Krikorian and one of her biggest evangelists for peace. The image above was part of a humane effort partly on his part to focus attention on the Caucasus ethnic conflicts. I could not resist showing you this picture.