My Armenia Program Launches New Round of Its Regional Guide Training Program

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Man presents on stage during training for guides.
Simon Jones from My Armenia Presents During the Regional Guide Training
Armine Karabekian, USAID/Armenia

For Immediate Release

Monday, January 29, 2018

During an opening event at the American University of Armenia (AUA) on January 29, the My Armenia program in partnership with AUA launched the second round of the Regional Guide Training Program. The course will help develop professional guide skills of the residents of Gyumri in Shirak province, Ijevan and Dilijan in Tavush, and Sisian in Syunik. Thirty guides from these communities and ten representatives from regional museums and tourism businesses collaborating with the My Armenia program will participate in the training.

Speaking at the opening event, the USAID Armenia Mission Director, Deborah Grieser noted that the training was both unique and vital for Armenia’s regional tourism development. “By empowering people, and particularly youth, to become guides and cultural ambassadors of their communities, we help them gain extensive knowledge about their local history, culture, and natural heritage for engaging story-telling. Most importantly, our trainees will acquire practical skills in guiding, customer service, visitor interaction, and group management. We are very pleased to learn that our first training program last year helped some of the graduates to establish their own businesses and provide professional guiding services to visitors,” she said.

The Regional Guide Training Program is a product of My Armenia, a five-year project funded by USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution. The course harnesses My Armenia’s partner, Solimar International’s broad experience in marketing and sustainable tourism development as well as AUA’s training expertise to deliver practical skills in guiding and storytelling.

“My Armenia strives to develop a sustainable and dynamic tourism industry throughout the whole country. Therefore, developing a cadre of quality regional specialists is among our priorities,” said Sisak Mkhitaryan, My Armenia Program Manager. “Regional guides are the ones who meet and greet local and international tourists, and so the quality of their services and their knowledge can impact the visitors’ impressions and decisions. This training will help our participants to tell their local stories in ways that will make travel experiences in these regions quite memorable.”

Trainings will commence on January 29 with introductory courses in guiding, interpretation, and narrative development. As part of their classroom sessions in February and March, AUA will help the participants develop the story content, which the students will test and refine in March and April during their practical training. Finally, My Armenia will work with the students and Armenian tour operators throughout the spring and summer to promote these new tourism experiences and activities in the regions.

By focusing on regional guides, My Armenia seeks to create new jobs and improve economic opportunities for Armenians living outside of the capital, while celebrating the natural and cultural heritage of the regions. During the initial training program in 2017, 31 guides from Lori, Vayots Dzor and Syunik provinces successfully completed the course and received certification.

The My Armenia program is funded by USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution. The program supports the sustainability of Armenian cultural heritage through the development of an inclusive and dynamic tourism sector that engages and benefits Armenian communities across the country.

Last updated: July 12, 2021

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