"People visiting Jermuk have little to do here: they eat, they drink the water, get the treatment; what are they supposed to do after?! We suggest creating entertainment centers, culture hubs, cinemas, anything for active pastime in the town. We've got a small lake over here, which has a potential for organizing a small beach; alternatively, we can simply improve it to make its territory more attractive. Two of the resorts used to have cinema halls. One of them has been turned into a big hall after the renovation of the spa, and the second one is now the hall of 'Gladzor', the largest resort of Armenia, with a capacity to host 500 people. But these resorts function only three months a year, because of heating problems," Narek says.
Narek says the Jermuk Travel portal, which was created in 2017, had all the information about Jermuk, including places to go, to stay, and to eat. Over time the portal grew into a tourism agency; the portal is now available at http://visitjermuk.am
"We now work at creating an information center and have already had meetings with some of the industry representatives. The documents are ready, and we will soon have a place, probably, next to the water gallery," Mirzoyan says.
It's been six years Jermuk hosts snow sculpture festival, which is basically an attempt to extend the wintertime attractiveness of the town for tourists.
"The number of tourists is high in December and January; that is why the festival is organized in February. This way we try to attract more people and help hotels and spas work longer. Another reason for having the festival is to attract more young visitors," Vazgen Galstyan, chairman of the Jermuk Development Center NGO, says.
To attract young people Arm Events
, Armenia Wellness & SPA Hotel
, and Visit Jermuk
organize colorful events, like the Color festival
; the town also hosts some other festivals, and works at developing extreme tourism.
"We have a new offer for ice-climbers; we have rock walls, we offer equipment, and we have specially trained instructors. We organize winter cycling championships on skiing trails. It's a real adventure, and people want to try," Galstyan shares.
The 1000-meter-long ropeway built in 2007 is a functional infrastructure that may contribute to the development of winter tourism in Jermuk. Its highest point is on 2,480 meter altitude, with a cafe and a restaurant. The ropeway has two trails – on 1,450 and 1,550 meters, respectively.
"The trails are for amateurs; people from abroad, just like the locals, travel to spend time here. We have winter packages for tourists offered by tour agencies," Narek Mirzoyan says.
And yet, the discussions of tourism development in Jermuk end where the talks of Amulsar and the mine begin, questioning the very existence of the resort town.
"The perspectives for tourism development in Jermuk faded soon after the talks about the mine began. I knew a tourist who used to come to Jermuk every year. He is not visiting us anymore; he leaves reviews on the booking.com warning people of the mine near Jermuk. The negative comments make people prefer other places," Mirzoyan says.