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Yerevan, 18 March 2019 – Armenia today launched Travelinsights, an artificial intelligence tool to help improve the country’s emerging tourism industry by gathering real-time perceptions of services and popular sites.

Developed by Armenia’s national Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) lab, Travelinsights uses complex algorithms to detect, collect and analyse all online reviews about Armenia’s tourism industry, helping understand its strengths and gaps through the eyes of tourists. The project used data scientists, programmers, designers and students, but also tourism industry experts.

“The tourism industry in Armenia has great potential and can provide unique opportunities for economic growth,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan. Despite its long history, Armenia is a relatively new player in global tourism.

In 2017, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported, totalled 14 percent of all employment, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. It was projected to rise in 2018 and beyond.

Last year the country boasted a 5 percent economic growth rate. The government’s 5 year-plan now aims to diversify the economy and make sure a larger number of citizens benefit. Tourism has the potential to be a strong driver for growth, jobs and shared revenue.

“This tool could help us shed light on the sources of tourist satisfaction and dissatisfaction, manage industry vulnerabilities, develop destination marketing, as well as invest in new markets and services such as ecotourism or gastrotourism,” Tigran Avinyan added.

Travelinsights will be a go-to platform for businesses - including restaurants, hotels and museums - that want to keep their finger on the pulse of the hospitality industry and improve their services.

The National SDG Lab is a joint undertaking of the government of Armenia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Director of the UNDP RBEC, said during her first country visit to Armenia: “Travelinsights embodies the vision that UNDP has for development in the 21st century – driven by evidence and designed for the user, with the potential to tackle complex development issues across the SDGs,” she said.

Through its global innovation portfolio, UNDP is helping to bring new approaches to the development sphere, including setting up innovation labs with governments to re-design public service delivery; embracing data innovation to implement and monitor the SDGs; exploring emerging and alternative sources of financing to deepen and diversify the resourcing and implementation of the SDGs.

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