My Armenia Cultural Sustainability Program

Cultural Heritage Tourism Development in Armenia

  • Client: United States Agency for International Development
  • Partners: Smithsonian Institution
  • Project Duration: August 2015 - December 2021

Project Description

“My Armenia,” a joint partnership between USAID, the Smithsonian Institution, and the people of Armenia, harnesses the power of research, documentation, and storytelling to strengthen cultural sustainability through community-based tourism development. Building on Smithsonian expertise in research and curation, the “My Armenia” program engaged with local partners in community-based research to document Armenian cultural heritage. Building on this collaborative research and working with sustainable tourism experts Solimar International, the “My Armenia” program increased and shared knowledge about Armenian cultural heritage while identifying opportunities to enhance and increase community-based tourism to rural Armenia.

The ultimate goal of the program is to strengthen or establish tourism experiences and reach greater tourism markets with the message of tourism in Armenia. Through this we were able to demonstrate a replicable model for natural and cultural sustainability based on deep scientific research with a connection to financial sustainability for the practitioners of cultural practices and managers of natural assets.

Major Activities

  • Strengthen Armenia’s natural and cultural heritage tourism experiences – work with local residents to enhance the tourism experience along strategic tourism routes in the north and south to sustain Armenia’s natural and cultural heritage
  • Improve natural and cultural heritage tourism sector workforce skills – enhance the skills of Armenian’s to work in tourism and to sustain cultural practices to improve the lives of Armenian’s in rural areas
  • Increase awareness of Armenia as a natural and cultural heritage tourism destination – Tell the story of Armenia to a broader audience and in a more engaging way so that more people are aware of Armenia as a travel destination
  • Synchronize efforts within the natural and cultural heritage tourism sector – Engage and leverage partners behind a stronger cultural heritage tourism economy in Armenia so that everyone is working toward a common goal.


  • Increased visitation to Armenia, and specifically target areas outside of the capital (Yerevan)
  • Increased revenue to the tourism sites, attractions and businesses within Armenia, and specifically areas outside of the capital (Yerevan)
  • Enhance the skills of tourism practitioners within Armenia
  • Strengthen the management practices of tourism sites, attractions and businesses in Armenia
  • Increased partnership, cooperation and coordination among tourism stakeholders in Armenia
  • Enhance business linkages with international tourism markets
  • Build greater awareness about Armenia as a travel destination internationally


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Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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