NEW YORK — The State Tourism Committee of Armenia, along with private sector representatives from the Armenian tourism industry, has participated in a series of meetings and events in three cities to increase awareness of Armenia’s cultural heritage tourism offering. The culminating event in Washington D.C. included a visit to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, which is showcasing Armenian cultural heritage this year.

The series of events commenced in Boston on Monday, June 25, with travel media appointments and a gathering of local travel trade representatives at the Boston offices of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). Hripsime Grigoryan, the newly appointed chairperson of the State Tourism Committee of Armenia, welcomed guests with a destination presentation, kicking off a series of educational trade workshops and networking sessions with Armenian tourism industry partners.

On Tuesday, June 26, the State Tourism Committee of Armenia participated in another travel trade event at the AGBU Headquarters in New York City, which was followed by a media reception attended by travel journalists. In addition to a destination overview, media attendees were also treated to a presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning Armenian author and poet, Peter Balakian. Balakian discussed Armenia’s rich history and culture, as well as his quest to discover his family’s historic homeland, Armenia, and his connection to the Armenian diaspora in America.

While in New York, the delegation also conducted a day of travel trade appointments on Wednesday, June 27, with key tour operators.

The events were organized by the My Armenia, a cultural heritage tourism program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Smithsonian Institution, and by AGBU, the world’s largest nonprofit Armenian organization.

From New York City, the delegation traveled to Washington D.C. on Thursday, June 28, for its final travel trade gathering at the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church and an open-air cocktail reception at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and produced in partnership with the National Park Service. This is the first time Armenian culture will be broadly presented at the festival. AGBU is among the festival’s sponsors.

“AGBU is proud to continue its long-term collaboration and partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, which began with the My Armenia program,” said Natalie Gabrelian, director of Alternative Education at AGBU. “Hosting this series of events aligns with our goal to educate all about Armenian culture and history. Encouraging travel industry insiders’ interest toward Armenia and all it has to offer the world is key to promoting tourism and putting it on the map for travelers.”

“This was a very important mission to raise awareness about Armenia as a tourism destination,” said Grigoryan, chairperson of the State Tourism Committee of Armenia. “Through our partnerships with My Armenia Program and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, it has been an honor to have the opportunity to further share our message with U.S. consumers and inspire North American travelers to visit our incredibly cultural destination.”

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