YEREVAN — Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) Charitable Foundation and National Geographic Partners have signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a preliminary review of sustainable tourism development opportunities in Armenia.

According to an IDeA press release, the initial research will include recommendations on product potential for developing Armenia’s cultural and natural attractions based upon the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally-friendly practices; support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage; and delivering social and economic benefits to local people.

Costas Christ, editor at large for National Geographic Traveler, will travel to Armenia in late April to lead a preliminary tourism development assessment on behalf of National Geographic. Christ, who is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on sustainable tourism, works with National Geographic’s Travel group, for which he serves as director of sustainable tourism and oversees field audits for the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

As part of the Armenia research trip, Christ will meet with government representatives, community leaders, business owners and tourism operators to assess the challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development to promote economic growth, while safeguarding Armenia’s natural treasures and rich cultural heritage for future generations. Working closely with IDeA, Christ’s recommendations will provide guidance on tourism strategy based upon globally recognized criteria for sustainable tourism principles and practices.

“Global scope and collaboration and using best international practices and standards for creating new local benchmarks are among the key principles of IDeA Foundation and based on that we are starting to work with National Geographic Partners. I am sure that this cooperation will help us to explore the best ways of presenting Armenia to the world and include them in the IDeA’s Tourism Development Strategy,” said Edgar Manukyan, CEO of IDeA Foundation.

“Armenia is a beautiful country with a rich and proud cultural heritage. Protecting that heritage and caring for the environment are fundamental to Armenia’s sustainable tourism development strategy to deliver economic and social well-being for the Armenian people. I am looking forward to working with such a visionary organization like IDeA to introduce Armenia to the world,” said Christ.

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