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Nagorno-Karabakh strives for Georgia24.07.2012 | 17:40
Nagorno-Karabakh can rightly be considered a tourist mecca. More and more tourists are proving it with their visits every year. However, local residents, of course, are well accustomed to the native sights and seek to rest somewhere far away from their country. Our correspondent figured out where exactly.
The geographical position of Nagorno-Karabakh is very inconvenient because of the lack of major transport links nearby. To get to Yerevan, the nearest transport hub, you need to spend five hours driving on mountain serpentine. The airport in Stepanakert is still closed. But residents of the country are ready to overcome obstacles in order to spend a holiday away from home.
The building of the capital's airport glistens with novelty, but the expected flights from Yerevan has not yet been launched. "For many it's costly to go to Yerevan with baggage, so they often ask about the date of the opening of the airport in Stepanakert, and we see that this will help people who want to leave Karabakh to take a break outside", Eric Ohanian, the head of the local travel company said.
In a small town, of course, there is no competition between the tour operators. Moreover - there is one operator, and the company is rather a coordinating manager engaged in the sale of tickets.
Neither international bus routes from Stepanakert nor trains exist. Therefore, tickets are available only for flights from Yerevan. But it does not stop tourists from Karabakh.
Where the people are going on vacation? It seems that most of the tourists go to Georgia, to the resorts of Adjara. In summer, there is a train to Batumi from the capital of Armenia. Georgian resorts have become more popular than the recreational lake Sevan in Armenia, the most popular place just recently. "Two years in a row we went to Lake Sevan, but the conditions of leisure and financial conditions did not suit us. I would like to say that vacation in Georgia (lodging, meals, etc.) is much cheaper, and the sea - it's not a lake", a local resident Karen Petrosyan says.
Georgian resorts are well represented in Karabakh. In addition to Batumi and other recreation areas on the Black Sea coast, you can go deep into the country. But Georgian tourists do not visit Karabakh. "Tourists from Georgia do not travel here, although we have wonderful sights - great rivers, lakes, canyons, gorges, and so on. A lot of our people travel to Georgia, we advertise their resorts; but unfortunately there's no reverse flow", director of a ticket company Eric Ohanian says.
Armenia is in isolation. It is not difficult to imagine how difficult and expensive it is to get to the "big world" from Nagorno-Karabakh, hidden in the mountains. The vast majority can afford to have rest in Georgia, because it is relatively close and inexpensive. And those who cannot afford the aircraft, they are traveling by bus. It's not so expensive, but excruciatingly hard. For example, to get from Yerevan to Mineral Waters, located at the northern extremity of the Caucasus Mountains, it is necessary to spend sixteen hours in a bus. Along with the road from Karabakh it will take almost a day.