Volunteers from Germany and Switzerland came to Armenia to share foreign experience. In the remote villages of the republic, they are actively developing ecotourism. They help to plan routes and build campsites for travelers. MIR 24 correspondent Lilit Madunts met with volunteers.
German volunteer Marie Buadorf kneads cement mortar on a par with men. Studying at the Faculty of Tourism in his country. I came to share experiences and help local people build infrastructure in the village – for example, they set signs with colleagues leading to the trail in the gorge.
“This is not my first experience as a volunteer. Therefore, it’s not difficult for me at all, I love this kind of work. We work all together, both boys and girls. I think it’s right, ”said Marie Buadorf.
The path to the picturesque gorge is not easy. Previously, in order to get to the ancient monastery of Gndevank, tourists and local residents had to go around the gorge on off-road vehicles. Thanks to the help of volunteers, the problem is resolved.
The trail originates from the village of Gndevaz. Its length is 8.5 kilometers. It existed many centuries ago. However, over time, overgrown with grass. To make it accessible to tourists, in just a few days it was cleared and leveled.
The road leads to the campsite. Here you can get water and stay for the night in a tent. A little further volunteers build a bathroom – the first in the gorge. They decided to implement this project at the World Wildlife Fund.
“We choose places for the development of ecotourism next to protected natural areas. Right now, for example, we are in two nature reserves at once, ”said Arsen Gasparyan, responsible for environmental programs at the Armenian branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
30 volunteers from Europe and 10 from Armenia spent almost a week in the village of Gndevaz. We lived in tents right in the gardens of local residents.
“At first it was hard, my back hurt a little, because I was not used to sleeping in a tent. But now this is not a problem, I like it. A trip to Armenia is now an adventure for me. I’m not going to do this forever, but it’s great that I’m here, ”said a volunteer from Switzerland, Gabriel Bruin.
The program on the development of ecotourism in the regions of Armenia was launched last year. During this time, volunteers from Spain and the UK managed to visit the country twice – in the Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions. There they laid several trails for backpackers, built bridges and toilets.
Already in September, new volunteer groups from other European countries will visit Armenia. About 200 people signed up for volunteers. They will also come to develop regional tourism in the republic.