On 4-5th of June 2016, the Young Biologists Association and Jermuk Development Center NGOs organized the first Ecotourism Festival in Armenia dedicated to the World Environment Day 2016 in the villages of Gomk and Martiros of the Vayots Dzor Province. The goal of the festival was promote ecotourism and support community-based nature conservation initiatives.
During the first day of festival the guests attended the official opening ceremony of the Ecotourism Festival full of traditional food, trade, and exhibition of the ecotourism services and local products. Afterwards they had an opportunity to follow the “Regional Cycling Cup” cycling contest. During the 4th of June, rock climbing competition and training, hiking and horse riding tours trough beautiful ecotourism trails to rock-carved cross-stones and lake were organized. In addition botanical expedition for plant lovers was carried out. The day ended around the campfire and accompanied by songs, especially good mood was provided music group VanaTor.
The second day starts with yoga and continued whith birdwatching. On the same day the hiking tour was organized to the Lake “Tchumov” and various cultural and natural monuments of the village Martiros.
The area of the villages is rich in biodiversity and the two communities are part of the internationally recognized ecological corridor IUCN Red Listed Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica), Bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus), and Armenian mouflon (Ovis orientailis gmelini).
The sponsors of the Ecotourism Festival was the Rufford Foundation and the Jermuk Group. The event was also supported by the WWF-Armenia, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenia Tree Project, Ecotour Travel Agency, Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds, “Noyan Tapan” news agency, Areni Festival Foundation.
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