The opinions and perceptions of foreign tour operators engl


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Armenia - Gem of Caucasus

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The opinions and perceptions of foreign tour operators engl

  1. 1. The Opinions and Perceptions of Foreign Tour Operators Toward Armenia Gayane Dallakyan CAPS Project Marketing Specialist
  2. 2. Armenia should monitor and manage her image… We have to collaborate to get a consensus around the image so we can develop an image improvement strategy. • What do we want to be known for? • How can we stand out from the crowd? • What thoughts do we want to come to mind when people hear the name of our country? • What messages do we want to give to the outside world?
  3. 3. Armenians see themselves Culturally distinctive, homogeneous but diverse local characters • Creative, innovative • Individualistic • Hardworking, industrious • Respectful of others • Family oriented, Christian ethos, loyal • Humorous, optimistic • Honest, trustworthy • Charitable • Survivors
  4. 4. Armenia: Cloud of Thoughts
  5. 5. Managing Armenia’s image is a MUST !Promote positives ! Change unjustified negatives ! Forget about justified negatives, until they are resolved
  6. 6. Audit of key factors is necessary for image management • Satisfaction rate – Armenian partner – Accommodations – Attractions • Country perceptions – Prices – Infrastructure – Food quality – Customer service ethic – Foreign language speakers for visitors – Promotions, communications and information dissemination • Communication phrases – Unique selling points – Tag lines – Popular traits characterizing Armenia and Armenian nation
  7. 7. CAPS had conducted survey among foreign tour operators Questionnaire … Analysis … Discussions …
  8. 8. Survey distributed to over 300,000 foreign tour operators allover the world
  9. 9. 331 Foreign tour operators from 31 countries participated the survey • 31 countries 86% never offered trips – 22% USA to Armenia – 22% Russian Federation – 11% Italy – 8% France – 6% India
  10. 10. Foreign tour operators have over 5 years business history with Armenia • 16+ years of operation (43%) • No repeat clients to Armenia (68.5%) • First tours to Armenia undertook prior 2005 (39.7%) • 1-3 departures in 2008 (67.1%) • 60% offer just Armenia
  11. 11. 90.6% wants to visit or establish tours to Armenia! Currently organizing trips to Armenia 29.3% Not offering trips to Armenia 70.7% Previously offered 12.0% Previously not offered 88.0%
  12. 12. 90.6% wants to visit or establish tours to Armenia! Reasons for not offering Reasons for stopping Lack of information on the destination 26.3% Unreliable local partner 8.3% No interest or demand from Insufficient promotion of Armenia in 18.4% 37.5% international media clientele No contacts with regional/local tour Too expensive for clients 12.5% 21.5% operators Armenia too difficult to get to 16.7% No interest from clientele 10.6% Clients not satisfied with the Too expensive 2.4% 0.0% destination and experience Too difficult to get to 7.3% Doesn’t fit with current portfolio of 5.7% itineraries or types of tour we offer
  13. 13. Other reasons Armenia is not on the map, it has no brand • Language problem, food problems • Normally our clients like to cover maximum places in short time at affordable cost • Doubts about quality of accommodation for up market clientele • We organize tours only by clientele request
  14. 14. 66% fully satisfied from the professionalism and courtesy of the Armenian partner • At the beginning they were sometimes slow in replying, but then communications improved and became quicker, especially in the last two years • Very good responses from our clients having travelled to Armenia • Is also aware of occasional problems that we face, and still is arranging for us to sell more and better
  15. 15. Inform us more about hotels offerings ‘Need more 'Fairfield Inn' type of facilities for groups’ • Is satisfactory for the needs of our clients but is expensive for the quality of the facilities and services provided. The facilities are somewhat limited and customer service could be improved but the accommodation is clean (48.6%)
  16. 16. Emphasize Cultural Heritage Contract with Disney for their expertise on improving what you have to make them more 'enticing’ • Are clearly of national and regional cultural value and are generally well presented for visiting tourists. However, small improvements could be made to impart greater information or in the provision of basic tourist facilities (food, toilets, etc) (60.9%)
  17. 17. Need to revise prices, they are expensive for the region NOT ALWAYS are they worth the requested cost • Be overpriced. The facilities and services are generally good but not worth the costs that are being charged (59.6%)
  18. 18. Armenia’s experience is the same or better 84% Georgia • Countries similar to Armenia Turkey Azerbaijan Russia
  19. 19. Hopefully economy will improve the whole infrastructure • Road conditions out of Yerevan are bad • Quality of busses is low • Lack of English signs
  20. 20. Provide more information about food Not yet "macdonaldized" • Great food and other cultural heritage • Almost organic food • Delicious food • Exotic food • Lavash • Cognac
  21. 21. Increase service level • Lack of adequate service at the hotels • Constant control & quality checks • Decrease the prices for service’
  22. 22. Difficulties With the Language • Language problem • Add English signs to public transportation • Add different language signs at tourist attractions
  23. 23. Unadvertised, Inactive, Lack of Information • Communicate nature, history, food, attractions, hotels, tourist routes!!! • More visibility in the medias • Public awareness within Armenia
  24. 24. Unique Selling Points Its stunning monasteries, desolate and beautiful • Abundance of Historical Sites! • Inviting cultural sites! • Pre Christian mythology! • Its wonderful mountains and scenery! • Mountain landscapes of the Caucasus! • Landscapes and religious monuments! • Very available people! • They have a great faith! • People very attached to their history! • Great cafes and restaurants (if smoke and noise reduced) History and Culture Landscape People Food
  25. 25. The Hidden Gem of the Caucasus Tag lines • A hidden unexpected wonder! • Come and we will surprise you! • Armenia leaves its mark in your heart! • Experience the unique! • Armenia ... Oh Yes! • A trip into the past! • Visit your ancestral home! • A place where memories are centuries ...! • Experience unique culture and arts! • Armenia land of great culture! • A trip to the dawn of Christianity! • Land of hospitality and culture! • You are among friends in an awesome setting! • Land of hospitality and culture! Different and hidden History and Culture Christianity People
  26. 26. Breathtakingly different • Mostly ethnic/religious travel • Rich Heritage and culture going back to centuries • Amazing experience of culture/people/brandy!! • Combination east meet west • Fantastic landscapes and mountain passes • Soft adventure paradise • People are very warm and hospitable • Traditions toward family: fathers and children • So close, so different • Culinary surprises • Exotic food • Spiritually rich • Ancient Christian tradition History and Landscape People Geographical Food Christianity Culture location
  27. 27. Armenia Public opinion Armenian people Open air museum on silk route Resourceful, intelligent thinking • Isolated and traditional • New, untouched • Honoring family traditions destination - respect to elderly and • Uniquely original special altitude to 86% never offered trips • Hidden elegance children! • Film Festival (therefore • Less money but bigger to Armenia culture) hearts • Soviet style dances as • Ease in dialogue entertainment • Exotic (for northern • Exotic and wild landscapes people) beauty • Diverse kitchen
  28. 28. What they complain about Cars honking too often needlessly disturbing the peace • Limited choice of accommodation • Road conditions right out of Yerevan bad’ • Overpriced • Diversity of food • High airfare • Cigarette smoke in restaurants
  29. 29. Their concern Are there only monasteries to see • 1. Safety, security – Is it safe there or not? • Food – Quality of food? • Prices – Too expensive • Not sure what to do – Are there only monasteries to see? • Not known – Where is it?
  30. 30. Opinions to consider Armenian nation should come forward and promote as a tourist destination • It is not interesting to look at ruins • Misleading use of Mt. Ararat in promotional material • Limited infrastructure (few hotels except Yerevan) • Not with global business attitude • Bad reputation for human trafficking • Almost completely internationally unknown • Harmful • Unsafe
  31. 31. Other opinions to ignore Is it worth it and do they have what it takes to be on the tourist map? • History of earthquakes and genocide • Lost kingdoms & empires • Land Locked Country, no access to neighboring countries • The whole genocide/Turkish/nationalist thing • Unprofitable • Tourism service is not developed • Tourism in its infancy • Underdeveloped • Not so open to international community • Not clean
  32. 32. SWOT: Strengths • Perceived as exotic • Magnificent scenery • Culturally rich • English spoken • Historically significant • Cradle of Christianity • Hospitable people • Low crime rate • Recognisable brand
  33. 33. SWOT: Weaknesses • Relatively unknown • Limited tourism infrastructure • Under-developed image • In a global hot spot -- • Niche – History and Caucasus culture • Expensive to fly to • Few products on the market • Distance from Europe
  34. 34. SWOT: Opportunities • Easy to define image if • Potential beyond history unknown: Armenia cache and culture • Play on exotic nature & hospitality: Surprise • Armenia has a lot to be creative with: adventure & food • Potential of Diaspora – double-edged sword • Chance to promote real sustainable tourism • Tourism ambassadors via celebrities • Use Turkish border & Karabakh to Armenia’s • Festivals, events & religious advantage tourism
  35. 35. SWOT: Threats • Limited product – • Relatively unknown – traditional tours & any bad news can routes swamp good • Economic downturn – • Land and air access destination retrenchment • Ignoring potential markets • Limited knowledge about what global • Seasonality markets want
  36. 36. There must be support and enthusiasm from the government and the private sector Desired image must be close to reality, powerful, simple, appealing, and distinctive
  37. 37. There is a possibility of the next steps • Good perceptions and images can be used to create articles and press releases (NCFA) • Results of the survey can be presented separately to: – Hotels – Cultural heritage site managers – Tour operators • Positive opinions and perceptions can be used to promote Armenia’s image through articles, press releases. • Maybe NCFA will repeat the survey in a year or two