Women at the core of hospitality industry development in Lori

30 November 2022

By Nane Vardanyan
Photos by: Knar Babayan

3 min read

Lori is known for being one of the most hospitable regions in Armenia. But how developed is the field of hospitality in the province, and what are the prospects of its further advancement?

COAF’s social entrepreneurship, the Concept Hotel located adjacent to the SMART Center in Lori, has given us a good experience and insight into the tourism and hospitality spheres in the region. The fact that Lori has mesmerizing nature, some of the best hiking trails, unique historical and cultural monuments, and diverse activities for adventure tourism lovers is unequivocal. However, along with the constantly growing guest houses and hotels, there still remain gaps in its service and hospitality management industries. 

Tourists love Lori. It is high time to give them the best travel experience.

Within our new “Empowering Vulnerable Women through Job-Oriented Skills Development and Employment Services in the Hospitality Sector in the Lori Region of Armenia” project, implemented with the financial support of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, 30 women, aged 18 and above, receive intensive training in culinary arts, restaurant management, and service, improve their foreign language skills, and take internships in some of the leading hospitality businesses in Armenia. 

The participants are from seven communities and villages of Lori: Alaverdi, Debet, Dsegh, Yeghegnut, Vanadzor, Karinj, and Odzun. Moreover, the program involves women already experienced in the field and those taking their very first steps.

Nelli Ghambaryan, one of the participants of the program, who has worked as a cook at the Concept Hotel by COAF since 2019, has had a great love for cooking for a long time, has worked as a chef both in Ukraine and Armenia, but it is her first opportunity to become professionally skilled in culinary. 

“The courses include various components: cooking, kitchen hygiene, and familiarization with different international cuisines. All of these give us practical skills and will be used effectively at work,” says Mrs. Ghambaryan.

The program, promoting female economic activity, was designed considering the existence of unfavorable conditions for women in the labor market, limiting circumstances in their societies, and the lack of professional skills necessary to meet the needs of the hospitality industry.

Seven partner institutions in Lori (Debed Life, Chamich, Angar, Kaghni, Tezh Ler, Tumanyan Development Foundation, COAF’s Concept Hotel and Conference Center) have guaranteed to hire graduates of the training program, including six chefs, six restaurant managers, and 18 waiters. 

The hospitality training delivered by the Yeremyan Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality and the French-Armenian Vocational Education Center (CEPFA) will be followed by language courses in English and Russian, taking into account the ever-increasing flow of foreign tourists in the Lori region. Simultaneously, the participants will take training at the Armenia Marriott Hotel in Yerevan.

Due to the program, 30 women and their families will have opportunities to maximize their potential, gain financial independence and increase their household incomes, thus fostering gender equality and social inclusion in Lori’s thriving hospitality industry.