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Armenia on the path of Tourism Development


Dear Arman, how do you assess the opportunities of medical tourism development in Armenia? Which are the means to promote the development of the latter?

The indicator of tourism is usually assessed on the basis of the development of hotel and transport infrastructure, legal order, support of the state, welfare of tourism in the country etc. It is obvious that the level of competitiveness of the tour operators in Armenia is an important component for the development of each country, and the growth of competitiveness is a serious matter nowadays not only for Armenia but also for many other countries.
Armenia, especially Yerevan catches an attention with its high professional level of medicine, where new medical treatment methods are always practiced and used up-to date medical technologies and equipments; the latter gives us a privilege to compete with the European and other leading medical centers. The healthcare in our country today meets European high measurements, and in case we compare it with American and European countries, we will see that our country is especially attractive for the medical tourism, as first of all, the tariffs for the medical treatments and services are at low price which gives us a priority in the top list of destinations for medical tourism.
Armenia can become an ideal opportunity for preserving the tourist’s health, as our country suggests not only combining the holidays and medical treatments, but also ‘’best price-best quality’’ combination for medical services, including the country’s rich historical heritages, active air connection, favorable climate and of course traditional Armenian cuisine.
For the promotion of both medical tourism and tourism in general, one should form and develop common tourism competitive advantages that will overcome the competitive powers while attracting thousands of visitors, earning much income etc.

Could you please mention the annual number of visitors to Armenia for medical treatments?

Unfortunately our country is lack of researches over medical tourism, however even in the total statistics of tourism the collection of data over arriving and departing tourists is missing; e.g. the aim of tourists’ arrivals and departures, their expenses, the structure of geographical distribution and many other such important information, that is why it is not possible to specify about the numbers, but
taking into consideration the indicators yearly stated by the World Health Organization, we can say that the number of visitors for medical tourism is very low, but we should not forget that yearly we welcome hundreds of tourists for dental services as the dental treatments are available at very low prices.

What can you say about ecotourism in Armenia?

At the moment, the Armenian tour companies offer a large variety of themed tours to Armenia. Ecotourism is comparatively a new concept in Armenia, but I can state, that the latter is one of the branches to provide dynamic growth in tourism all over the world, the main resource of which is the environment. Ecotourism assists the recognition and the understanding of the country’s natural and cultural heritages, as for the locals, it attracts them with the received incomes, because of this fact, people start valuing the environment more and more taking the latter as a source of income. Our country has all the opportunities to become one of the most favorable fields in the region.

How do you find the solutions to the possible problems?

During the process of tourism integration in our country both the state and its low level of recognition in the world play a great role. I think the country must economically promote the activity of healthcare centers, agro and eco tourism trying to make improvements in tourism services structure of Armenia.
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Georgia's government recruits brigade of native English speakers to spur a linguistic revolution


The goal is to make Georgia a country where English is as common as in Sweden — and in the process to supplant Russian as the dominant second language.
The government has already lured 1,000 English speakers to Georgia, and by September, hopes to have another 500 in place so that every school in the country has at least one. Under the program, which resembles both the Peace Corps and the Teach for America program, the teachers live rent-free with Georgian families and receive a stipend of about $275 a month.
The initiative to embed these foreigners across Georgia reflects the ambitions of its Western-leaning president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who speaks excellent English and studied law at Columbia University. Read More...

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Thai government to localize Wikipedia to enhance knowledge (source in Thai)


This translation project, which uses statistical machine translation algorithms, has received both positive and negative criticism. According to the news, Thai people use Internet widely for entertainment but not for wisdom. A former eminent Minister of ICT of the country initiated this scheme 4 years ago but administrative staff still lack understanding about valuable aspects of translation activities. Those who can read Thai can read the full article here.
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New Welsh Language Measure confirms official status of the Welsh language in Wales - public bodies and some private companies will have to offer services in Welsh


The history of the Welsh language has taken another turn with the adoption of the Welsh Language Measure of 2010.
Back in 1536 the Act of Union specified that English would be the official language in the courts, non-English speakers were barred from public office and the Welsh gentry became increasingly English-speaking. Then in 1847 the event known as the Treachery of the Blue Books caused outrage in Wales when government school inspectors claimed that the Welsh language was responsible for the alleged backwardness of the Welsh. The Welsh Not (or Note) was used to stigmatise children who spoke Welsh at school and the status of the language was diminished. In response to the decline in the number of speakers in the 20th Century, Saunders Lewis gave a speech on the Fate of the Language in 1962 which inspired language protestors to campaign for equal status for the language. Activists have been battling for bilingualism ever since.
7 December 2010 was a milestone for the Welsh language. The new Welsh Language Measure confirms the official status of the Welsh language in Wales. Public bodies and some private companies will have to offer services in Welsh. The law also provides for the appointment of a Language Commissioner to protect the rights of Welsh speakers, the creation of a Tribunal where complaints can be taken and a Partnership Council to advise the government on strategy. The new law will come into force in the new year.
The last Welsh Language Act dates back to 1993 and made public bodies responsible for providing services in Welsh. The new Measure of 2010 will also cover some large private companies, including utility and telecommunication companies. Read More...

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Wikipedia turns 10, sets up in India to expand user base for local language Wikipedias


Wikipedia turns 10 this January. In 2010, we saw several Wiki Media Foundation bigwigs visit India, hold public meet-ups with the Wiki community and appoint the first Indian to sit on the board of the Wikipedia Foundation, Bisakha Dutta. Apart from the formal Indian Wikipedia chapter, that has been on the anvil for some time now, Wikipedia Foundation has also chosen India to set up its first offshore office.
But why India? The large number of potential Net users here, and the ‘ground support’ that exists in the form of a passionate community of Wikipedians, drive these “offshore efforts”. However, they realize, that the ‘Indian Internet’ is by no means a homogeneous entity. During recent visits to India, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has repeatedly articulated the need to approach Wikipedia growth here from a strictly “localized” perspective — by expanding the user base for the local language Wikipedias. Read More...

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