Thursday, December 12 2013 08:34
The 29th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) kicked off in Yerevan today on 12 December amid actions of protests against Turkish Foreign Minister's visit, ArmInfo's correspondent reports.>>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:45
Head of Heritage Party Faction Zaruhi Postanjyan recommended Armenian Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan to 'keep shtum' and stop insulting mass media, after Abrahamyan declared that Mass Media has been recently publishing ordered reports that affect his image and authority. The speaker said that one of his opponents who orders reports against him is also a parliamentarian. Abrahamyan did not name him, however. He just recommended his opponent to spend the money he pays to journalists on charity. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:44
If Turkey goes on coming forward from the previous positions pretending for the mandate on Karabakh settlement, and putting forward pre-conditions, in that case one should not wait for any results from Turkish Foreign Minister , Ahmet Davutoglu's, visit to Armenia within the BSEC session, secretary of the ruling RPA faction, Hovanes Sahakyan, told Arminfo correspondent. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:43
Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu's visit to Armenia within the frames of the BSEC will change nothing in the Armenian-Turkish relations, as he will again try to condition normalization of the bilateral relations with the Karabakh settlement, secretary of the Prosperous Armenia Party parliamentary faction, Naira Zohrabyan, told Arminfo correspondent. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:42
It is hard to make any forecasts concerning the Dec 12 visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Armenia. The Armenian authorities are very weak and no longer trusted by the world community, so, Armenia's foreign political agenda is determined outside the country, the secretary of the parliamentary group of the National Congress of Armenia Aram Manukyan told ArmInfo on Wednesday.>>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:42
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's visit cannot lead to any progress in the Armenian-Turkish normalization, because the United States and the Europe Union are not interested in it any more, Stepan Safaryan, Secretary General of Heritage Party, has told ArmInfo's correspondent. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:41
Armenia's Prosecutor General, Gevorg Kostanyan is ready to file a lawsuit based on Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan's report regarding corruption in the legal system of Armenia. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:40
The program on replenishment of ishkhan (Armenian trout) reserves in Lake Sevan and fish breeding development has caused the environmentalists' indignation. The program envisages creation of an incubator, a juvenile fish farm and a fish processing factory. The products (frozen fish, tinned fish, smoked fillet) will mostly be exported. Environmentalists say that the Government is already preparing the draft decision on ishkhan breeding in Lake Sevan. Emi Fruit company has completed the pilot project and is presenting its estimations to the Government. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:38
"Turkey's policy and official position is that the Turkey-Armenia rapprochement begins from the withdrawal of the troops and liberation of the Azerbaijani occupied territories," Azerbaijani Parliament vice-speaker Bahar Muradova told journalists while commenting on the upcoming visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Armenia. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:36
The last meeting of the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Vienna will bring no progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks, Head of ARFD Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office Kiro Manoyan told journalists on Wednesday. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:35
In 2013 Areximbank-Gazprombank Group issued 18627 cards (15.5% rise versus 2012). The turnover by cards at the Bank's service points rose by 37.94% and at cash withrawal points - by 8.35%, the press service of the Bank has told ArmInfo. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:31
Zhoghovurd newspaper writes that ex-chairman of the Board of ArmBusinessBank CJSC, Ara Kirakosian, was arrested. The banking circles of Armenia proved such information to Arminfo. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 17:30
Armenia consumes the most expensive gas even by European standards, MP, ex-Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratyan says on his Facebook page. >>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 09:41
Parliament of Armenia passed amendments to the Law On State Pensions in the second and final reading, Thursday.>>>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 09:33
Tuesday, December 10 2013 22:20
The open skies policy will reduce the prices of flights to Armenia by 10-50% on the average. This will allow the country to additionally increase the GDP by 1.5% or $0.3-0.4 bln AMD per annum, Arman Khachatryan, CEO of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia, said at a press conference on Tuesday. >>>
This indicator is mentioned in the program on ensuring provision of competitive and longlasting air services in Armenia elaborated on the basis of a joint survey by McKinsey&Company and the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia. Khachatryan thinks that Armenia will be able to reach that target in 3-4 years. "The conduct of the open skies policy will lead to growth in the country's commodity turnover and will increase the inflow of tourists", he said.
In particular, passenger operations are expected to rise by 20-25%, he said. In the meantime, 18- 23 thsd well-paid jobs will be created in the aviation sector.
In the context of the new concept "at least one cost-effective air company" will be launched in spring 2014. Khachatryan said that the air ticket prices in that company will be low, and the company will make flights to 10 cities of Europe. He failed to specify who is the founder of the company, whether the state has a share in it and whether the company has already been granted a license.
Khachatryan pointed out that in Armenia air ticket prices are by 60% higher than in the neighboring countries due to the restricted geography of flights and low competition in the market. He thinks that the open skies policy implies full liberalization of the aviation sector. Moreover, the market will be liberalized for not only foreign but also local air companies. "We suppose that by 2016 the number of foreign and local air companies in Armenia will range from 40 to 50", he said.
Air Armenia company appeared on the Armenian air market in Oct 2013 causing a significant drop in prices. Transporting cargoes since 2003, Air Armenia carried out its first passenger charter flight to Rostov- on-Don on Oct 3 and the first regular flight to Moscow on Oct 27. The company has two planes: Boeing 737-500 and Airbus 320.
The company's Executive Director Arsen Avetisyan told ArmInfo earlier that it is inadmissible that local air carriers face restrictions, while foreign companies enjoy open skies. He explained that it was the recommendation of the Government's advisor, McKinsey & Company, who believes that in order to be eligible to provide air services, a company should have a capital of at least $25mln and enough free funds to operate at least five planes within three months.
But, according to Avetisyan, in order to be able to do it, a company should have a capital of no less than $60mln. This requirement seems absurd to him as a company cannot have five planes unless it is allowed to fly: no single leasing company will give it a plane – whatever its financial status is – unless it has a license to fly. So, Avetisyan sees in this recommendation an attempt to debar national air companies from air services in Armenia and to artificially restrict their activities so as to curb their development.
In Jan-Oct 2013 1.5mln people used air services in Armenia (1.8% less than a year before).
Tuesday, December 10 2013 22:19
On December 10, VTB Bank (Armenia) and Visa summed up the results of Olympic Campaign Sochi 2014. The campaign was aimed at increasing the noncash payments by Visa cards of VTB Bank (Armenia) and raising the Armenian consumers' awareness of operability of the Visa payment cards. >>>
It was pointed out at today's press conference that 100 cardholders of VTB Bank (Armenia), who obtained the biggest number of bonus points, became participants in a drawing of 101 valuable prizes of the Bank, particularly, 50 certificates for purchase of appliances at ARAY store until 1 Feb 2014 and 50 certificates for the Bank's products at preferential terms (-1% for a loan or +1% for a deposit) until 1 Feb 2014. The key prize of the campaign was a trip (for two persons) to the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi. The winner of the key prize was the Bank's customer Armen Grigoryan.
"Due to the Olympic Campaign Sochi 2014 held jointly with Visa, the Bank's customers can feel themselves part of the Olympic movement and root for the sportsmen from the tiers. This is the second joint campaign this year and it has become a stimulus to use the Bank's Visa cards when making various kinds of payments, which have grown more than twofold. It is pleasant to realize that the Bank is promoting the popularity of the plastic cards in Armenia", said Yuri Gusev, Director General, Chairman of Directorate of VTB Bank (Armenia).
When asked by ArmInfo to assess the situation of Visa cards in the plastic market of Armenia, Irina Kamkhadze, Country Manager Caucasus countries at Visa, said that the dynamics is stable if the matter concerns the ratio of noncash operations against the total card turnover, which has been 10% for almost a year. "This is a rather high index as compared with the CIS countries, for instance. Our key goal is to increase the volume of noncash payments", she said.
During the campaign (from Oct 1 till Nov 30) the number of Visa card transactions grew by 50%. The turnover almost redoubled as compared with Nov 30 2012. The average daily quantity was 8,000 transactions.
"Visa and we will continue holding such campaigns. They have already offered us a new interesting project. As regards the Visa card tariffs, they are quite competitive. This is a well-balanced price, reflecting the actual cost of this service. Let's not forget that card business is one of the most investment-intensive banking activities," Gusev said in response to ArmInfo's question.
Armenia started acquiring Visa cards in 2001, with 12 Armenian banks already having such cards. As of Apr 1 2013 there were 600,000 active Visa cards in Armenia (30% more than a year before).
VTB Bank (Armenia) joined VTB Group in Apr 2004 and is fully owned by VTB Bank, the second biggest bank in Russia. VTB Bank (Armenia) is one of the leaders of Armenia's banking sector. It has 67 branches all over the country. It also has an own processing center, which gives it an advantage on the card market.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 22:17
Head of the Tourism Department of the Armenian Economy Ministry, Mekhak Apresyan, has amazed the media by denying the obvious. He claims that tourism services in Armenia are allegedly by 10% cheaper than in Georgia. >>>
At today's press conference Apresyan said that it is necessary to compare equal quantities for impartial assessment. For example, one should compare Yerevan with Tbilisi, Jermuk with Borjomi, but not Yerevan with Kobuleti. Otherwise, wrong conclusions are made about cheap tourism services abroad. Another important thing is that the data should be taken from one source, for example, from booking.com. The head of the Tourism Department blames people for lack of patriotism and for "disseminating absurd rumors" though everyone knows that in summertime hundreds of thousands of people go to
Georgia's Black Sea resorts not only because they underestimate the shores of Lake Sevan.
Deputy Mayor of the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, Garik Hayrapetyan, said that a 6-day stay at a hotel in Tsaghkadzor with 3 meals and participation in the New Year show ranges from 130 thsd AMD to 3 mln AMD per person. However, he understood that the figures are too high and added that very often a few families join their funds and rent a private house for 25 thsd AMD per day. Last winter nearly 1,500 people spent their winter holidays in Tsaghkadzor.
Apresyan also stressed that the number of those wishing to celebrate the New Year in Armenia is growing with every passing year. Moreover, the tourists are not only citizens of Armenia but also foreigners, especially from the CIS countries. According to the statistics, nearly 678 thsd tourists visited Armenia in Jan-Sept 2013, 12.4% more than in Jan-Sept 2012. These were mostly tourists from Russia, Georgia, Europe, Iran and the USA. Domestic tourism in Armenia grew by 38.2% in Jan-Sept 2013. A total of 587 thsd citizens spent their vacation in Armenia.
Having assumed the role of a Book of Complaints and Suggestions, Apresyan expressed confidence that the travelers are pleased with the service quality and prices and feel comfortable and safe. He also pointed out the "favorable investment climate". "It is also noteworthy that as soon as the social package program for state officials was introduced, the number of officials spending their vacation in Armenia rose more than twofold and totaled almost 40
thsd", said Apresyan. He added that the number of contracts on social packages grew from 8 thsd to 19 thsd.
In the meantime, Apresyan did not say a single word about the problems of the tourism sector in Armenia though the tourism market participants, especially, the tour operators point out a number of unresolved problems, particularly, expensive air tickets, prices of hotel accommodation, low quality service, lack of international standards and shortage of skilled personne.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 15:42
On December 17, 4 opposition factions of the Armenian Parliament, namely ARF Dashnaktsutyun, Prosperous Armenia Party, Heritage and Armenian National Congress, will hold a procession of protest against introduction of the compulsory contribution pension system. They will also apply to the Constitutional Court to consider the validity of that law. >>>
Artsvik Minasyan, MP from ARF Dashnaktsutyun, told media that the procession may develop into a rally. He said that the opposition factions will apply to the Constitutional Court because the parliamentary majority does not want to take measures to prevent introduction of the compulsory contribution pension system. The MP also promised that if the Constitutional Court rejects the oppositionists' application, they will convene an extraordinary meeting of the Parliament and will do their best to hold a nationwide referendum. Minasyan said that there are already 32 parliamentarians' signatures for applying to the Constitutional Court instead of the required 27.
To note, the compulsory contribution pension system to be introduced on 1 Jan 2014 has caused wide public protests in Armenia because additional taxes will be imposed on the citizens amid the countrywide social crisis.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 14:54
The government of Lebanon plans to issue a commemorative stamp picturing the Genocide Monument at Bikfaya, Lebanon, in order to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Asbarez reports.>>>