Scooters and bikes as a new way of uncovering Ijevan

22.07.2022 | 23:35 Home / News / Articles /
Kamar Hotel in Ijevan, Tavush region, owns a history of over 30 years. Founded in 90s as a tiny family guest house, today it offers its guests a variety of services stretching from leisure to work.

In 2021, this wide range of services has been replenished with yet another one: rental of scooters and bicycles. And if you have come to Ijevan without a car or you are done with driving, you can easily rent a scooter or a bike and explore the astounding sites of the city and Tavush nature, by and large.

Kamar Hotel purchased the scooters and bikes within the framework of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” (ITTD) project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

In her interview with Mediamax, Parandzem Nazinyan, the owner of Kamar Hotel, spoke about the newly added service highlighting the importance of regional tourism development.

From a small guest house to co-working and a hotel with heated swimming pool

Back in the 1990s, in this same area where our hotel is currently located, a guest house was operating. My husband’s mother was doing business and the second floor of our house was used as a B & B. We may very well say that we are one of the pioneers of hospitality industry in Tavush. It was owing to many years’ work that we succeeded scaling up, and presently Kamar has transformed into a rather large hotel complex. First of all, we offer comfortable accommodation to our guests. Our hotel suits both family vacation purposes, as well as business trips.

We also get many visitors crossing the interstate road on their way from Georgia to Armenia. In addition to accommodation, we render a number of other services as well; a conference hall for discussions, business meetings, which can also be used as a co-working space. We have an outdoor, heated swimming pool, which is crucial considering the weather in Ijevan. Until recently, it was quite cool here, and the heated swimming pool attracted many to come here.

At present, the construction of a restaurant, indoor pool, steam bath and sauna adjacent to the hotel is in the progress. Since last year, we started offering a new service - rental of scooters and bikes on hourly and daily fee basis.

We wanted to engage the youth

As I said, for years, it was my mother-in-law who was in charge of the hotel. It has always maintained its original color and orientation, i.e. family vacation and business trips. At some point, we realized that we have to expand the segment of guests and definitely engage active young people. Young people are the driving force behind everything, so we decided that we wanted to make the hotel attractive to them likewise so that we get not only those interested in passive leisure, but also those keen on active and somewhat extreme recreation. This is how the idea of setting up a scooter and bike rental and organize tours with their use in the surroundings, came into life  

There are so many enticing destinations both in and around Ijevan, and to access those, the guests have to either go by their own car to see them or, if not, to use a taxi. Scooters and bikes allow making that path and the experience most fascinating.

Since the EU4Business ITTD project focuses largely on specifically regional tourism development, we applied for a grant scheme and with the support of the project, purchased 14 scooters and 14 bicycles. As of November 2021, they are made available for our guests.

Procedure of provision and safety of scooters and bicycles

There are two options for rent, either to use the tours we organize, or to rent and choose the direction of travel on its own. Moreover, you don’t have to be checked in our hotel to rent a bike or a scooter, it’s not necessary to stay in Kamar, but you can still rent those either on hourly, or daily basis. There is a rental office in the center of the city as well.  When it comes to the tours we organize, it mainly includes introducing our city and adjacent attractions to our guests, visits to Ijevan's sculpture garden, Dendropark, and the wine factory.

We still do not have GPRS devices and the renting process is pretty much based on mutual trust, but we plan to purchase the devices in the near future. In the meantime, we will also provide helmets to make the experience as safe as possible.

Within the scope of this project, we have already hired new employees, who have been trained on how to operate these devices. Anyone who wants to rent a scooter or a bicycle first takes 10-15 minutes’ test drive under the supervision of our staff member. Only after they make sure that the renter is experienced and can ride the bike or scooter well, the equipment is given out for rent. There are many cases when we reject inexperienced drivers.

Many people come to us for this service only

As I said, our initial intent was to make our hotel and the city, as a whole, compelling for young people as well. I can now say that we succeeded. Looking at the statistics of "Kamar" hotel guests, you can see that over the last months, there are many who learned about the possibility of renting scooters and bikes, and it has greatly influenced their decision to choose us for vacation. The interest in renting bikes and scooters in the city center grows particularly in summer.

Bikes offer extensive opportunities and as long as you can drive, they are very convenient for long distances. In the case of scooters, there is also the problem of recharging the battery and the roadways. It is impossible to drive on an rock ribbed forest trails. As for recharge, a fully charged scooter can only run for about 2 hours. When renting full-day, we also provide the device needed for recharge, which is small and easily accommodates on the scooter’s trunk.

Grants, as a means of tourism development

Over the course of decades, we have transformed from a small guest house into a large hotel complex and much was achieved thanks to projects and grants supporting tourism. Therefore, I cannot overestimate their role in all this. Tavush region has a huge tourism potential and, support programs such as this extend businesses an opportunity to grow and offer even more services. If businesses start to grow in the region, the number of hotels and guest houses will increase, so will the movement in the city; guests and visitors will start using local stores and other services as well. We have a magnificent nature and if there were comfortable hotels, guest houses, and interesting services, it's only natural that tourists would seek to come here.

Yana Shakhramanyan  
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