Remarks at a meeting of the Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network

Good afternoon.

It is my pleasure to be with you today.  I would like to thank the Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network and its members for tackling the difficult task of cross-border cooperation.  As you know, one of the most effective drivers of cooperation is common business interests.  Your association’s goal of promoting business and the business interests of the local Armenian and Turkish communities is very laudable.

This region offers so much to travelers seeking one-of-a-kind experiences.  Whether it is discovering traditional villages and music, dance and food, or the thrill of adventure in hiking, climbing or paragliding there is a rich variety of experiences available for every kind of tourist.

Armenia and Turkey share more than they sometimes realize: environment, history, and many aspects of culture.  Cross-border tourism highlights both the commonality and diversity of communities.  Through tourism, tourists and locals from both sides of the border gain exposure to the other culture, which promotes greater understanding and appreciation of the other.

Tourism also plays an important role in the economic development of isolated communities, which are more prone to poverty. Cross-border tourism can contribute to much needed incomes for local providers.  When local communities cooperate economically they broaden their horizons and share the benefits.

I commend the efforts of all of the TATON members to promote new tourism products in the international tourism market.  I wish you a successful meeting.