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The Delegation of European Union to Armenia jointly with ATP has initiated European Tree Planting, as well as the first of its kind in Armenia - European Alley of Trees opening in Ashotsk Ski Centre on 16th June 2019 in Ashotsk (Shirak marz). In the Alley of Trees 45 birch and 45 ash trees were planted.
“The European Union supports environmental organisations which aim at making Armenia greener. We will plant 90 trees today with Armenia Tree Project on the path near Ski Centre. We, the European Union, have always supported and continue to support Ashotsk in order to host more tourists. Stand in this area, snow removal vehicle, ski trail are our small contribution to development of Ashotsk. Trees that will be planted today will beautify the area; the reason for planting trees and maintaining forests is not only for beauty, but for the better environment, better maintenance of soil moisture. For us these are the goals worth contribution” said EU Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Świtalski at his briefing with journalists upon arrival at Ashotsk Ski Centre (Shirak marz)“. The European Union is committed and willing to promote the development of local communities as well as the development of Ashotsk as a skiing center".
This event is another important step towards development of Ashotsk cross-country skiing potential and tourism. According to the EU Ambassador tourism is one of the most important fields within the framework of EU programs being implemented in the northern regions of Armenia - Shirak, Lori and Tavush. The government of Armenia has approved this large-scale project, but surely, the process requires some time, thus, patience is needed to see the results. Ambassador also mentioned that they have high hopes for the governors of three marzes that they will guide, motivate efficient spending of allocated money.
Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia Vache Terteryan noted that lately pleasant events in Ashotsk become a good opportunity to meet and expressed hope that this tendency will continue. Various programs in cooperation with the European Union focus on tourism but also have components on agriculture and small and medium-sized enterprises. "Governors of three northern regions have shared their ideas and programs, which are ambitious. There is an inner feeling, even confidence already now, that we will be able to effectively implement projects in our three northern regions", said Vache Terteryan.
Governor of Shirak Marz Tigran Petrosyan also welcomed the participants, highlighting that the last two-three visits to Ashotsk were related to initiatives by EU Ambassador Świtalski. The initiaves crucial for the region, also hint that Shirak marz has a potential, which if used efficiently will bring new solutions in the fields of tourism, sport and overall development of the region “Tree planting is a very pleasant initiative, I am sure that years later when we come here, these trees will symbolize the warmth which you place behind your initiatives in Ashotsk, Shirak marz“ the Governor added.
Mayor of Gyumri Samvel Balasanyan appreciated not only today's event, but also stressed the importance of building similar centers close to other big cities. "With renovated roads, it will take 20-25 minutes from Gyumri to reach this center, where skiing sport is available", the Mayor noted, adding that it will further help to activate the flow of Gyumri residents to Ashotsk.
The Vice President of the Armenian Ski Federation Gagik Sargsyan also present at the event shared that the Federation is planning to turn the Ashotsk Center into a skiing and winter tourism Academy of Armenia.
After the speeches, the experts led by ATP program coordinator Arthur Harutyunyan demonstrated the tree planting rules. The first tree was planted by the European Union Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Świtalski. 45 birch and 45 ash trees were planted in the European Alley of Trees. Following tree planting, ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the opening of the European Alley of Trees.