This time we had the opportunity and honor to conduct an interview with the Minister of Tourism and Sport in Uruguay Lilian Keshishian. Lilian Keshishian is an Armenian-born politician
who works and lives with her family in Uruguay. For the first time she came to Armenia in 2005 on the 15th anniversary of the Armenian Parliament. At that time she was elected as a deputy and was the first Armenian deputy in whole Latin America. During this official visit she is the Minister of Tourism and Sport and had a lot of fruitful official meetings with the members of Armenian government.
In the interview the minister confesses that she had few time to walk in the street, but she noticed a lot of changes. More and more hotels, restaurants, shopping centers appeared in the city. This is out of doubt. But at the same time there are many problems in villages which can be seen not only in Armenia, but in all the countries of the world. In spite of these difficulties people go on being warm, hospitable, polite… She can say that some changes are just obvious and there are things that the government is trying to maintain.
As for the tourism Uruguay has made a lot of success for the recent years. They had nearly 3 million tourists and more than 2 million dollars of income from tourism industry. Uruguay worked a lot with the countries of the region. The minister thinks that Armenia has a great potential as a touristic country. First of all as a religious destination, besides, cultural, historical…
Armenia sets apart from the countries of this region as a Christian country as it is surrounded mainly by Muslims. But there should be taken measures to make people recognize Armenia as a country with huge cultural and historical heritage. If people aren’t conscious of this, no one can speak about tourism. Besides, she added that tourism needs a lot of investments. Actually investing money in this sphere is not useless expenses. But not only economical factor, cultural, educational factors are important as well. And the most essential thing is that tourism is a peaceful activity.
Both the government of Armenia and Uruguay plan to maintain good relations in the sphere of tourism. An agreement was signed between two countries on cooperation in the field of tourism. Uruguay has studied the statistics of tourism in detail and has also been occupied with preparing human resources for tourism industry.
She is sure that they can give us a lot in this context. The minister was greatly delighted with sports in Armenia, especially with chess which children pass at school as a curriculum subject. She claims that it’s a challenge for the 21st century. They in their turn are good at football and can help us in this kind of sport.
Although the two countries are far away, there is warmness and love between them. Besides, there are a lot of Armenians in Latin America who are reluctant to cooperate with Armenia.
In her opinion, Armenia has a great potential to combine sport and tourism because now Armenia takes high places in the world famous competitions in such types of sports as weightlifting, chess, etc. She thinks that tourism and sport can walk side by side.
The minister visited some places of interest in Armenia. Especially she was impressed by Tatev monastery and vine-press that is considered 6 thousand years old. Armenia has all the conditions to develop different types of tourism such as vine tourism, archeological, cultural tourism… And of course, Ejmiatsin is another wonderful place where one can feel the Christian spirit of Armenia. The meeting with Catholicos was very impressive and warm. The memorial to the victims of Armenian Great Genocide Tsitsernakaberd is of crucial importance for the Armenians living abroad as their parents were the people who rescued from East Armenia and settled in different countries of the world.
At the end of the interview Lilian Keshishian wished Armenians all over the world a lot of peace.