Sunday, 29 March 2009

Thousands of Iranians celebrate Novruz in Armenia due to "liberties"

Thousands of Iranians choose to celebrate Novruz in Armenia. Referring to the Public Radio of Armenia, Huliq says that "close to 20,000 vacationers from neighboring Iran have traveled to Armenia to celebrate Novruz, the Iranian New Year in Armenia due to liberties, affordability and warm weather."
The young people from Iran travel to Armenia with large groups to be able to celebrate Novruz while they can attend Yerevan's numerous nightclubs and can drink in public. Whereas in Iran you can only drink inside your house and there is no such a thing as public drinking.

The reporter of the Armenia radio interviewed a young lady who is staying in front of Yerevan hotel saying "look I can have my beer here and don't have to carry a scarf, which is an obligation in Iran." [...]

"We went to night clubs, danced and were able to have good time with our friends. Yerevan is near to Iran, full of good people and provides good opportunities for fun and celebration," says 25 years old Amir from Iran while shopping in Yerevan and who thinks the traditions are too strict in his country Iran.
As the report pointed out further, "It is estimated that an average vacationer spends $1000 U.S. dollars in Armenia per week, which includes most of the expenses, including hotel and meal. Therefore, 20,000 Iranian tourists leaving $20 Million dollars in the Armenian economy is a good investment in the country of 3.5 million people."

As far as I know from various sources, for the same reasons many Azeris tend to spend their Novruz holiday in Georgia.

As posted on this blog, Iranian artists and gays seek freedom in Armenia too. This is VERY relative, of course, from a local Armenian perspectives, but pretty significant for Iranians.

Here is the morale of this story. Under current economic conditions, focus on tourism should become one of the priorities. And as this report suggests, more social liberties will attract more tourists, and subsequently more money to Armenian state budget and local businesses. Even if for practical reasons, it's time to think of pink pound (or euro/dollar, if you wish).

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