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USAID to Support Black Sea Silk Road Corridor "Eco-Tourism" Project in Armenia

The USAID Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness (EDMC) Project signed a grant agreement with non-governmental organization Armenian Monuments Awareness Project (AMAP) to implement the Black Sea Silk Road Corridor (BSSRC) project.

Funded jointly by the European Union, AMAP, and USAID, BSSRC is a 2-year initiative that will foster cross-border cooperation and economic development in 100 communities across four countries of the Black Sea Basin – Armenia, Georgia, Greece and Turkey. BSSRC, with AMAP as the lead implementer in Armenia, will also help alleviate rural isolation and develop local communities through eco-friendly tourism to enhance visitors' experiences and protect cultural monuments and biodiversity.

There are three main components to the BSSRC in Armenia·

1st: a nature trail of 43 cultural, historical and natural sites marked by 148 directional signs, 114 information panels, 77 trail markers, and 55 walking tour plaques.

2nd: a virtual e-trail consisting of a web-based portal and five smartphone applications with multi-media and multi-language content with social network integration. As agreed on by the consortium of participating countries, Armenian IT engineers will service the project and design the online directory and smartphone applications used in all four countries.

The directory will allow local hospitality service providers to list their services (lodging, food, local crafts, souvenirs, guides, etc.) and market them to the global community.

3rd: a training seminar for local, regional, and national hospitality service providers on the use of social networks to market local hospitality services on the trail.

The European Union supports the project through its Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme as part of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.

The project's activities in Armenia are supported by the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Communication and Transport, the Ministry of Nature Protection, the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the Botanical Institute of Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds, as well as the Archaeology and Ethnography Institute of the Academy of Sciences and the Democracy Today NGO.

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