YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS. The Gastro Yard pilot program implemented in Armenia back in 2018 is becoming more and more widespread across the country. By seeing the successful experience residents of various communities also express a wish to implement this interesting tourism initiative in their communities. The program is funded by the Russian government and is implemented within the frames of the UNDP’s Integrated Rural Tourism Development (IRTD) project.
IRTD project development expert Lusine Balayan told Armenpress that the Gastro Yard project consisted of two components – food and winemaking, food and crafts. Gastro Yards are unique touristic destinations which aim to promote rural local hospitality, authentic food and beverages. Tourists have chance to get to know local culture, people and history of Armenia.
“Gastro Yards are not just some kind of places, people live there and introduce tourists on our traditions, culture, cuisine, handmade works, etc. In 2018 we have implemented several pilot projects in different provinces of Armenia, including Tavush, Aragatsotn, Vayots Dzor and Ararat”, Lusine Balayan said.
As these projects resulted in success, in 2019 we announced competition for the implementation of Gastro Yards projects with 3 components: food-winemaking, food-crafts, food-crafts-winemaking. More than 130 applications were submitted. The committee selected those who passed to the second stage, conducted on-site monitoring to assess the potential of beneficiaries. The winners got an opportunity to build their own Gastro Yards in their communities.
Within the framework of this project the beneficiaries are provided with support, including equipment, as well as consulting, designing support. For instance, there was a major assistance for winemaking. In order to ensure the sustainability of the project the beneficiary was provided with the necessary equipment for making homemade wines for a three-year term. These technologies are designed for ensuring the entire period of producing wine. They are also cooperating with specialists who follow the quality of wine and the proper implementation of the production.
“The project was so successful and interesting that the Armenian government also participated in it, and we are very happy for that”, she said.
This year as well more than two dozen such yards are expected to open in the Republic. The official opening ceremony of ART-TAKARD GASTRO YARD will take place on February 15, at the village of Khachpar of Ararat province.
Gastro Yard project aims at contributing to the diversification, development and promotion of tourism services in rural communities of Armenia. It creates tourism services based on rural household economies. The project includes three main services – food, homemade wine and crafts.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan