Iran 2nd Largest Contributor to Armenia Tourism
Iranians helped Armenia register a 5.7% growth in inbound tourism in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to official figures released by Armenia's State Tourism Committee.
Around 1.26 million people visited Armenia, with Russians, Iranians, Emiratis, Chinese and Croats making up the bulk of that figure, IRNA cited a report by Armenpress as saying. The number of Iranian tourists visiting Armenia has been steadily growing for years, such that in 2016 it registered the largest growth of any country with 30%.
The two countries have stated interest in expanding tourism cooperation. A visa waiver agreement went into effect in August last year, which most certainly contributed to Armenia's tourism growth.
"The transportation of passengers has significantly increased following the abolition of visa regime," Armenia’s Meghry Customs Checkpoint in the province of Syunik reported last year.
Because of cultural affinity, natural attractions and artistic potentials, Armenia is known to be a favorite destination of Iranian tourists. Iran also has a sizable ethnic Armenian community estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000.
Iran and Armenia have had historical ties. Many of the oldest Armenian chapels, monasteries and churches in the world can be found in modern-day Iran. Saint Stepanos Monastery, St. Thaddeus Monastery and the Blue Mosque among others have been inscribed for several years now (since 2008) in the UNESCO World Heritage List, under the name of "Armenian Monastic Ensemble of Iran".