Seda Hergnyan

Iranians Celebrating Nowruz In Armenia: How Much They Spend Is Unclear

According to Armenia’s Ministry of the Economy, up to 30,000 Iranians have visited Armenia in certain years to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.

The holiday starts with the vernal equinox (marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere on March 21 or the previous/following day, depending on where it is observed) and lasts for 13 days.

Lately, on a yearly basis, the number of Iranians visiting Armenia has reached 130,000.

Armenia’s National Statistical Service reports the following figures for Iranian tourist numbers to Armenia during the 1st quarter for the years 2011 – 2015.

2011 -  19,700

2012 – 15,000

2013 – 10,000

2014 – 26,000

2015 – 44,000

But there are no credible figures as to how much each of these Iranian tourists spend while in Armenia during the Nowruz holiday.

Some estimates place the amount somewhere between US$800 and $1,000.

Trade data between Armenia and Iran is more precise.

In 2015, Armenia exported $78 million in goods to Iran and imported $198 million from Iran.

During the past few years, Armenia has been importing more from Iran than exporting to it.

2014: Imports $206 million, Exports - $85 million

2013: Imports $198 million, Exports - $95 million

2012: Imports $219 million, Exports - $108.5 million

2011: Imports $217 million, Exports - $106 million

Armenia mostly exports electricity to Iran, with lesser amounts of aluminum and sheep/goat meat. Armenian mostly buys gas, oil and oil products from Iran, as well as fruit and vegetables, glass and tiles.