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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    Thousands From Iran Celebrate Novruz In Armenia

    Armenian Public Radio reports 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 residents of the capital of Armenia Yerevan see many more tourists from Iran during this time of the year than they normally do. The reason is that many Iranians have chosen Yerevan to celebrate Novruz.

    Celebrated on the first day of Spring, Novruz is the favorite holiday maintaining a strong tradition in Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and in central Asia. At its core, the Novruz festival celebrates the awakening of the natural life. This awakening symbolizes the triumph of good, winning against the evil forces of darkness that are represented by the Winter. Novruz is the point when the oppressive presence of the cold Winter finally begins to retrieve with the commencement of the lively and hopeful Spring. This symbolic and poetic change corresponds to the mathematical instance of the sun leaving the zodiac of Pisces and entering the zodiacal sign of Aries, also known as the Spring Equinox.

    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."

    As Armenia has become the touristic Mecca in the region due to its rich culture, public liberties, warm weather and affordability the Armenian and Iranian companies had to make charter flight and bus tours to Armenia to accomodate the travel needs of about 20,000 Iranians.

    "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.

    Tourism, established as one of the priorities of the national economy, has been steadily growing in Armenia. Last year the Armenian government had created an action plan for the development of the travel industry in the country. The plan provides for the development of infrastructure and transport, road construction, training of personnel, development of business environment, development of tourism in Armenia’s communities.

    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.
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    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse



      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        Landlocked? Won't stop us!
        Armenia to export fish abroad

        27.03.2009 20:26 GMT+04:00

        /PanARMENIAN.Net/ RA Economy Ministry's Marketing and Trade Department initiated a meeting with representatives of RA Agriculture Ministry, RA Pisciculturists Council, UNO Representation in Armenia and professional laboratories to discuss export of RA-produced fish and seafood abroad, RA Economy Ministry Press Service reported.
        Parties agreed to develop a scheme to enable fish and seafood production volumes increase that might set up foundations for future investments.
        The above mentioned structures, as well as Nature Preservation and Health Ministries will be involved in program fulfillment.
        Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Ah. Fish farming? Or is it river fish?


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            Neicho Velichkov: internet will be accessible everywhere in Armenia

            30.03.2009 14:59 GMT+04:00

            /PanARMENIAN.Net/ ArmenTel CJSC (Beeline trademark) Director General Neicho Velichkov and Agricultural Association Chairman Hrachya Berberyan signed memorandum of strategic cooperation, stipulating collaboration in technological and social spheres.

            Says ArmenTel CJSC Director general, ''Our investments aim to create jobs and promote economic development in the regions, the position our company did and will hold for years to come.''

            “Village people are the spine of any society, and our company is honored to establish collaboration with the farmers' union. By the end of summer not only internet access but mobile and fixed connections will be available throughout Armenian villages,'' Neicho Velichkov related.

            ''Offering internet access to villagers is a great step towards easing their everyday lives and connecting them with the outer world,'' Hrachya Berberyan stated.

            According to Hrachya Berberyan, many attempts were taken to provide internet connection in villages during last 10 years. This is the first effective attempt which will enable people from Shirak to Goris to communicate together, as well as obtain international connection at affordable prices.

            Internet clubs will be opened in villages to tutor web-surfing to local people.

            Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              Recession Cuts Armenian Property Prices

              By Lilit Harutiunian

              Real estate prices in Armenia have plummeted by at least 30 percent this year because of a worsening economic situation and decreased cash inflows from abroad, private realtors said on Tuesday.

              The Armenian government reported a far more modest drop, however. According to the State Real Property Cadastre, the average home prices in the country last month were only about 6 percent below the February 2008 level.

              Ashot Muradian, a senior official there, told RFE/RL that they even rose by up to 14 percent in some areas outside Yerevan. He said the nationwide number of property transactions was down by 20 percent year on year in February.

              Private real estate agencies in the capital painted a different picture in separate interviews with RFE/RL, estimating the price fall at between 30 and 40 percent. Vahan Danielian, director of the Kentron agency, suggested that it was even more drastic in downtown Yerevan, the by far the most expensive part of the country.

              “A one-room apartment in the city center was valuated at between $80,000 and $100,000 last fall. We’ve just sold it for $40,000,” said Danielian. In his words, a two-bedroom apartment in the city’s northern Nor Nork suburb was worth at least $70,000 a few months ago but would now sell for no more than $50,000.

              According to Vartan Ayvazian of Cascade Realty, the prices of office and other commercial space in the capital have also gone down by up to 40 percent. “Quite a lot of commercial space is now vacant in the city center,” said Ayvazian.

              Armenian property prices skyrocketed in the years preceding the economic crisis, fueling a construction boom that helped the Armenian economy expand at double-digit rates from 2002 through 2007. The local construction sector contracted by 1.5 percent in January-February 2009.

              Torgom Hovannisian, deputy director of another real estate firm, AS, linked the price collapse with decreased cash inflows from Diaspora Armenians and Armenian nationals working abroad that have financed a large part of apartment purchases in the country. “Because there is a crisis abroad … few people from the Diaspora buy homes in Armenia,” he said.

              “Another factor is that [real estate] prices were inflated. They would fall sooner or later,” added Hovannisian.

              Andranik Tevanian, an economist running the Politeconomia private think-tank, said the fact that Armenian banks have substantially cut back on mortgage lending since October has also played a role. “Commercial banks understand that until the mortgage market is stabilized they can’t make quick decisions and take risks,” he said. “So their lending policy will be quite cautious in the coming year.”

              Vahe Avetisian, head of the Shen property valuation agency, said apartment sales are further curtailed by potential buyers expecting real estate to become even cheaper in the coming months. “When they start making transactions the prices will go up again,” he said.

              Realtors disagreed just when that could happen. Cascade Realty’s Ayvazian said that the prices will likely stay unchanged at least until this fall, while Kentron’s Danielian predicted their further decline.

              Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                Armenia, Iran Agree On Ambitious Rail Link

                By Emil Danielyan

                Armenia and Iran on Friday formalized their plans to construct a railway that would connect the two neighboring countries and significantly boost economic cooperation between them.

                The Armenian and Iranian ministers of transport signed a preliminary “memorandum of understanding” to that effect after talks in Yerevan. They said the final version of the document will be signed during President Serzh Sarkisian’s upcoming visit to Tehran.

                The ambitious project has for years been discussed by the Armenian and Iranian governments. Sarkisian declared its implementation a top economic priority shortly after taking office in April last year.

                Iran’s Minister for Roads and Communication Hamid Bihbahani said at the signing ceremony that work on the 470-kilometer rail link, the bulk of it passing through Armenian territory, will take at least three years and cost up to $1.2 billion. Bihbahani said the two governments hope to attract much of the required funding from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Armenian side is optimistic about the success of its ongoing negotiations with the two lending institutions, he added.

                The ADB agreed late last year to provide $1.5 million for feasibility studies on the project. According to Armenian Transport and Communication Minister Gurgen Sargsian, an ADB delegation will arrive in Yerevan soon to discuss details of the study and the Manila-based bank’s possible involvement in the railway’s construction. Sargsian told journalists that Russia has also expressed an interest in financing it.

                The lack of a rail link between Armenia and Iran is seen as a major hindrance to the development of Armenian-Iranian trade, which amounted to a relatively modest $226.6 million last year. It also complicates the use of Iranian territory in Armenia’s transport communication with the outside world.

                The matter was high on the agenda of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s March 13 talks in Yerevan with Sarkisian. According to the Armenian president’s press office, the two men attached “particular importance” to the planned railway and agreed that its construction would have far-reaching implications for the entire region.

                Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  Another link on this VERY important development. Notice the comment in bold. This could work very well if we attach this railway to the one going to Georgia. The only problem is Russia will not have a direct land part of the railway but that will probably be made up by it buying a portion of it.
                  Armenia, Iran Plan $1.2 Billion Railway Link - Ministers
                  Friday April 3rd, 2009 / 17h16
                  YEREVAN, Armenia (AFP)--Armenia and Iran agreed Friday to build a railway to link the two countries as part of a new transit route from central Asia to the Black Sea, officials said.
                  The 470-kilometer railway will take five years and cost up to $1.2 billion to be financed by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Iranian Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani said.
                  "The railway construction will amount to a restoration of the historic Silk Road," Behbahani said at a press conference after signing a memorandum with his Armenian counterpart, Gurgen Sargsian.
                  "The railway will ensure transport links from south and central Asia, the Far East, through Iran and Armenia's territory towards Georgia's Black Sea ports," Sargsian said.

                  Landlocked Armenia is seeking closer ties with Iran because of an economic blockade imposed by neighbors Azerbaijan and traditional foe Turkey.
                  The U.S. has raised concerns about Armenia's warming ties with Iran, with the top U.S. diplomat in Yerevan saying in June that the country should join in international sanctions aimed at convincing Iran to halt its nuclear program.

                  Last edited by Federate; 04-03-2009, 07:12 AM.
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                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    Iran-Armenia railroad important for entire region
                    04.04.2009 22:15 GMT+04:00 Print version Send to mail

                    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan met Saturday with Iran’s delegation led by Minister of Roads and Transportation Hamid Behbahani.

                    Stressing the importance of joint projects, President Sargsyan hailed construction of Iran-Armenia railroad.

                    For his part, Minister Behbahani said that Serzh Sargsyan’s forthcoming visit to Iran will give renewed impetus to bilateral cooperation.

                    You should never argue with idiots because they will just drag you down to their level....then beat you with experience!!!!!!!

                    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Voltaire


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      Once again, Armenian Reporter with some great reporting. Not only that but they have continued to be a perfect example by using a map of United Artsakh.
                      In five years, Armenia, Iran to be connected by rail
                      If this ambitious initiative materializes, Armenia could have a passage through the ports of the Persian Gulf

                      Yerevan - High-ranking officials from Armenia and Iran are giving assurances that in five years' time there will be a railroad linking the two countries. According to preliminary calculations, the railroad will stretch for approximately 470 kilometers, with 410 of those on Armenian territory. The total cost of this undertaking is expected to run about $1.2 billion.

                      An agreement will be signed by Armenia and Iran sometime this month when President Serge Sargsian is expected to be in Tehran for an official visit. On April 3 Armenia's minister of transportation, Gurgen Sargsian, and Iran's transport and communications minister, Hamid Behbahani, signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard.

                      Armenia, which is currently under blockade from the west by Turkey and from the east by Azerbaijan, had a rail link with Iran during the Soviet era. The line began in Yerevan and continued along the banks of the Araks River, through Nakhichevan in the Azerbaijani republic, stretching all the way to Julfa. From there the railroad cut across the Araks River by bridge to Jolfa station in Iran. From there was connected to the Iranian railroad grid. This was the flattest and shortest route: 200 km from Yerevan to the Iranian border.
                      Mountainous terrain

                      With passage through Nakhichevan blocked, the new rail link will have to be built across high mountain ranges - through the provinces of Vayots Dzor and Syunik. The exact route through Armenian territory has not yet been mapped out. At a press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mr. Gurgen Sargsian said it would be preferable to have the railroad run from the basin of Sevan toward Jermuk. Built during the Soviet era, there is today a working railroad from Yerevan all the way to the western basin of Sevan, the city of Vardenis. The portion of the railroad to be built on Iranian territory must run to the city of Marand.

                      Ministers Sargsian and Behbahani said that the railroad will be built in three stages. In the first stage, technical and financial studies will be carried out. This stage will require three months. The second stage will be determining the route of the railroad and the drafting of maps. The third stage will involve the actual construction. The ministers foresee that this project will take up to five years to complete. The sides expect to secure financing for this project through large banks. "Negotiations for financing have already begun with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank," Minister Sargsian said.

                      If the construction of this ambitious railroad becomes a reality, then Armenia will not only be connected to its neighbor Iran through a rail link, but will be able to have transportation routes all the way to the Persian Gulf and through this have routes to neighboring regions and states in Central Asia, the Middle East, India, and China.

                      Armenia's railroads belong to a Russian company. The full management of Armenia's railroad, lately renamed the South Caucasian Railway, was given to Russian Railways for a period of 30 years. Since 2001 the Armenian railroad has been a profitable operation, primarily transporting cargo from Armenia to Georgia all the way to the Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti and back.

                      Russian Railways promised to invest $570 million in Armenia's railways. It has already stated, however, that it will not finance the Armenia-Iran initiative. The Russians will use Azerbaijan's territory for their railway communication with Iran.
                      A geopolitically significant project

                      Abel Aghabegians, a well-known economist and academician said last October that the fundamental issue surrounding the construction of the Armenia-Iran railroad would be whether the sides would be able to guarantee the required amount of cargo transport to justify the cost. He suggested that perhaps it would have preferable to renovate and shorten the distance of the Armenia-Iran automobile highway by building a few tunnels at a fraction of the cost. Mr. Aghabegians said that the cost of building this railroad could skyrocket to $2 billion because it would have to be built across treacherous territory. He hinted that perhaps the geopolitical significance of the Armenia-Iran railroad outweighs its economic benefits.

                      During the Soviet era, Armenia had several rail links with Azerbaijn. Cargo and passenger trains operated between Yerevan and Baku (this route passed along the banks of the Araks River all the way to Julfa, then back through Armenian territory at Meghri, and back once again into Azerbaijan) and Ijevan to Baku. The Yerevan-Kapan line also passed through the territories of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. The Yerevan-Baku and the Ichevan-Baku lines carried 80 percent of Armenia's cargo.

                      During that period, Armenia also had rail links with Turkey at the Gyumri-Kars line, which like the other rail links to Azerbaijan, are no longer in operation because of the 20-year-old blockade. The Yerevanx-xTabriz rail line has also been under blockade because a portion of that line passes through Nakhichevan. For the past 17 years, Armenia also hasn't had rail connection with Russia because a portion of that rail line passes through separatist Abkhazia in Georgia. That rail line, which is known as the Abkhazian railroad, has been under blockade by the Georgians since 1992.

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