On February 24, Ms. Susan Fritz, USAID Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, visited Yerevan to become better acquainted with USAID programs in Armenia. AMAP Human Development NGO was delighted to present its Black Sea Silk Road Corridor (BSSRC) and Bridges projects to her. Accompanying Ms. Fritz were USAID Mission Director Karen Hilliard, Supervisory Program Officer Mervyn Ellis, Director / Economic Growth Office Naren Chanmugam, Private Sector Advisor / Economic Growth Office Diana Avetyan, and Development Outreach and Communication Specialist Armine Karabekyan.AMAP Vice President Bella Karapetyan presented an overview and the accomplishments of AMAP, BSSRC and Bridges. Babken Juharyan, AMAP IT Consultant provided an overview of our recently-launched, multi-lingual, free App, available for iOS and Android platforms.

AMAP’s BSSRC introductory video was shown, providing an informative and delightful initiation into culture––and more––along the Black Sea Silk Road Corridor.

Joining us during this meeting were leaders from several Armenian tourism agencies with which AMAP works closely: Armenia Travel, Armenia Travel Bureau, Blackstone Travel, Discover Armenia (DA) Tours, Gardman Tour, Princess Maneh Tours, Travelon, and the Union of Incoming Tour Operators. All have committed to joining TATON––an important objective of the Bridges project. TATON––the Turkish-Armenian Tour Operators’ Network is envisioned to play an important role in cross-border, regional economic development.

During the active and interesting discussions, ideas and accomplishments were shared. Challenges––and potential solutions––were discussed. Tour operators remarked on the usefulness of AMAP’s Black Sea Silk Road App. They affirmed that Bridges is a welcome initiative to continue and expand cooperation with Turkish tour operators, and encouraging tourists to visit the region.

The presentation was held at the Erebuni Museum, a long-time AMAP supporter and partner. Guided by Erebuni Museum Director Gagik Gyurjian, Ms. Fritz discovered some of Armenia’s history and treasures