January 18, 2017

The Festival of Snow Sculptures, which is called “Snowman-2017”, will host its visitors in Jermuk on February 17-19 for already the fifth time. It was told by the president of “Jermuk Development Center” NGO Vazgen Galstyan during his interview with Armenpress.

“The whole idea and goal of launching the festival was to try to extend winter tourism period. We hold the festival in February because there are relatively more or less people in Jermuk during December and January. In this case the hotels and businesses of the sphere of tourism will have more visitors and they will be able to work for a longer period”, mentioned Vazgen Galstyan.

In his words, the aim of “Snowman-2017” is also to create additional vacancies, as well as to solve the issues of employment and youth activity.

The president of “Jermuk Development Center” NGO said that they have received consultations from the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of RA, but they haven’t received any financial or other kind of a support. He said that only in 2015, with the support of the Department of Tourism there were provided buses for organizing the transportation of people from Yerevan to Jermuk. “We expect other kind of a support from them. We expect not the organization of the festival but that they would try to somehow assist in the creation of winter tourism infrastructures”, emphasized Vazgen.

During the interview with “Armenpress” the mayor of Jermuk Vardan Hovhannisyan said that the municipality does and will do its best to develop the tourism in the town, and why not to develop youth activity.

“Each year the festival is expanding and we ourselves provide corresponding financial support. With the mediation of the municipality, the hotels and health resorts offer low-cost packages, and the ropeway operates with a discount. The restaurants place food booths outside, we provide buses, in order the transportation of the participants were duly carried out. Now the organizers should present the budget, after which we will discuss all the issues concerning the festival and if the municipality can afford, we will assist also financially”, mentioned the mayor of Jermuk. He added that they would also request the State Committee of Tourism of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of RA for them to also provide financial support in order to make the festival more interesting and beautiful.

Vazgen Galstyan said that in the future they would present their idea with different suggestions to the president of State Committee of Tourism (Zarmine Zeytuntsyan, who is an acting president now (commentary by the author). He expressed hope that their cooperation would be effective because the committee is also interested in the development of winter tourism in Armenia.

“We have mainly focused on local market. We are trying to involve in the festival as much Armenians as it is possible. When the festival takes place, at that time we will also try to involve guests from abroad. During the previous years, we had visitors from China, Russia but they hadn’t come specially for the festival. I think that we have still much work to do. I don’t think that the festival has such a potential for involving foreign tourists. There is an increasing tendency but when we see that there is a full support from the corresponding bodies, we will have a good result. When I estimate the true capacities of our organization, I realize that we simply cannot do so that the whole world knows about our festival. Both the Committee of Tourism and the tour operators should deal with it”, noted Galstyan.

In 2012, the festival was organized on an urban scale. They hadn’t even spread the news in order to see what kind of developments it could have. The next year it was also organized but on a greater – regional scale. They received guests from Yeghegnadzor and Vayk, who also made sculptures. Since 2014, it has been held on the scale of whole Armenia. According to Vazgen, approximately 250-300 people have visited from Yerevan of which 80 have stayed for the night in Jermuk: 40 of them – in the houses and the other 40 stayed at the hotels.

In 2015, the guests, who have visited Jermuk from Yerevan, were 700. 189 of them stayed for the night in the houses and hotels. The festival “Snowman” was not held in 2016. This year it will be held on February 17-19, 2017. This year the organizers hope to receive more than 1000 participants.

“Those who sculpture are mainly locals from the Region of Vayots Dzor – from Vayk, Yeghegnadzor and Jermuk. Since 2015, we also invite 3rd-4th year students of State College of Fine Arts after Panos Terlemezyan. We invite three groups, two participants in each group, who present their sketches according to which we will make snow squares, on which they would sculpture their statues. We take the same format with the participants of Jermuk”, said Vazgen Galstyan.

The festival “Snowman” has been held for the first time in 2012, when “Jermuk Development Center” NGO has been established.

Interview by Lilit Demuryan

the material is taken from

translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan