Interview with travel blogger Siranush Piloyan, owner of See You In Armenia

  • Posted: 05.12.2020
  • Interview with travel blogger from Armenia

    1) What is your blog about?

    I assume the brand name says it all - See you in Armenia. It’s a travel blog about my home country where I was born and raised. The very first moment you visit my website the following words are welcoming you` “You come as a tourist, you leave as a friend” and “Travel as you live here.” Everything from the point of view of locals. You feel like you have got a friend here. That’s a virtual friend to make your travel better, easier and Armenianish :D (that’s just a made-up word by me). I also find it important to include other travelers notes and interviews on Armenia as you know we always trust other travelers.

    I want to create my mini virtual Armenia during the time.

    2) What inspired you to start your blog/website, and when?

    It has been 10 years I’m working as a tour guide and I used to think why I can’t tell about my country to wider audience. Then social media became so popular and I slowly started posting pictures (with the worst possible quality like 7-8 years ago). I have got another website where I have the section for Armenia but it always seemed to be not enough to me because I can tell more about Armenia rather than about other countries that I’ve visited.

    So in the summer of 2019 I began to post pictures with the hashtag #MayBeNextArmenia?

    I kept doing so before I met and guided my guests - Richard Bangs (The co-founder of Expedia, American author and television personality focusing on international travel) and his wife Laura Hubber (BBC journalist). We discussed the lack of information on Armenia online and I told them my idea to start some blog with that hashtag. While having the dinner we exclude that name as a title for travel blog and choose SEE YOU IN ARMENIA instead. And here it all began. That name inspired me immensely.

    A week before my trip to London an idea came to my mind։ why don’t I use the sign with “SEE YOU IN ARMENIA” on it and promote my country abroad. I had only several days for printing. But I did it.

    My first photo with the sign was taken in Stonehenge, England. Was crazy day. It was storm there and I was standing with my sign for picture hardly holding myself steady․ Most of the tourists were wondering what she is doing and where is this Armenia. I loved that reaction and kept the idea going.

    Interview with travel blogger from Yerevan, Armenia

    Photo: © See You In Armenia

    3) In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?

    I always think that it’s me who should take the blog to somewhere and in this case I mean it literally. I want the sign SEE YOU IN ARMENIA to travel all over the world. During the time of pandemic it seems a bit dreamy but not impossible, right? I want Armenia to be known in the world as a unique travel destination, spiritual corner to uplift your spirit and help you to become more of who you are. We all seek some kind of isolation for our thoughts, Armenia is a perfect spot for all above mentioned.

    I travel a lot and I can assure you that Armenia will gift you tons of memories.

    Travel blogger from Armenia

    Photo: © See You In Armenia

    4) What’s your favorite destination in Armenia and why?

    I am the wrong person to ask)) But for sure I have my own favorites. Southern part of the country holds certain place in my heart. I find my peace there with some special energy that always charges me. Let me highlight Tatev monastery (9th century) and please add this to your bucket list when you are in Armenia. You get to the monastery by the longest double-reverse passenger cable car in the world recorded in Guinness World Record Book.

    My best-loved is Qarahunj observatory. In 2015 with my group from USA watched the rising of Orion constellation on the 11th of August at 4am in the morning. Since then I have my own connection with that place. One of my friends even gifted me the silver ring called “Qarahunj” that is usually with me with its strong energy.

    Interview with blogger from Armenia

    Photo: © See You In Armenia

    5) Do you have any funny travel stories with family, tour group? Please share

    Sure. I even have the separate section on my other blog for memoirs of my guide friends and mine.

    Once I was in the restaurant with my group for lunch. Group was quite big and I physically couldn’t manage to help all of them with translation. Suddenly I noticed the conversation between my guest and waitress. He was asking about the meat in the soup.
    -Is this soup with baaaa? ( mimicking sheep, meaning lamb)
    The waitress answered.
    -No, it’s with moooo. (mimicking cow, meaning beef)
    Was so funny to follow the small performance of them :)

    Tour group in Armenia

    Photo: © See You In Armenia

    6) What’s your best travel tip you always give people travelling in Armenia?

    I always ask them to bring an empty stomach for good food and empty heart for good people))

    But if we’re talking the tips we travelers want to hear I am working now on the materials for that. As there is not only one and best tip. The best one I did mention already above.

    7) What are some of your ‘can't-live-without’ accessories during travelling

    I travel a lot and kind of learnt to survive without many products and replace them easily. The only thing is always with me wherever I go is my full skin care regimen that I choose carefully and I can’t find easily abroad. Take care of your skin when you travel, it’s an absolute must on the roads.

    Interview with travel blogger from Yerevan, Armenia

    Photo: © See You In Armenia

    8) Did you think you can attract investment for your blog?

    I think nothing is impossible, right? So may be.

    If any kind person would like to invest in my small Armenian world I’m always open for discussions and cooperations.

    We can do many interesting projects here, just DM me.

    9) How has the pandemic affected domestic tourism?, and what tasks for the future?

    The tourism was badly affected by COVID19 everywhere in the world and Armenia was not an exception either. Domestic tourism became priority in many countries. Locals here in Armenia are mostly used to travel by their own vehicles and with friends or families.

    The good thing about pandemic was the amount of group tours that were organized and brought local strangers together. Slowly but steadily we formed the new travel culture here. All of a sudden we found out that what an amazing country we do have that never had a thought to appreciate properly and explore. You can’t love the things when you’re not familiar with.
    That was the only benefit of pandemic in domestic tourism.

    About the tourism in general. The tasks for the future are many as the travel world will not be the same afterwards. Marketing strategy should be updated and a lot of research should be done to find out what the modern world’s traveler is seeking for. Last 5 years I clearly see Armenia as a luxury and spiritual travel destination. To me the luxury is also kind of different nowadays. Luxury is an attitude, experience, quality food, hospitality and silence where you get even closer to yourself and nature. It’s time to find the consumers of the above mentioned and I’m sure there are many.

    The rest is the matter of time, every country has its own battle for the attention of travelers after pandemic. Hard work only as there are no shortcuts.

    10) What needs to be done to make traveling in Armenia more popular?

    I want to highlight that in 2019 Armenia became quite popular destination among travelers․

    A lot of big companies started promoting this part of the world as a unique and different destination. And it’s true. It’s neither Europe, nor Asia.

    Just shortly about some steps to market Armenia better. People need to know and learn about it with our help first. We should take different group of travelers and show them Armenia from different perspectives.

    For instance millennials should be shown all the instagramable locations, to fill up internet with those spots.

    Armenia is a perfect destination for intellectual tourism. I bet you will be surprised by the amount of information on the history, art, culture, etc.

    My dream is to promote Armenia as one of the centers of scientific tourism. A lot of work should be done for this one but the result will surprise its consumer.

    And let’s not forget about modern trends. New type of traveler is emerging after pandemic. We call them “half-tourist” who combine work with different views.

    Those are just few of the steps that could be done for better tourism in Armenia. We are always open to welcome all kind of travelers with different needs and wanderlust.

    Travel blogger on Sevan Lake

    Photo: © See You In Armenia
    BONUS: If you could do only ‘one thing’ today then what would it be?

    I would travel. Always. It’s my addiction. The rest I will figure out on the way))

    Contact Siranush
    • web: See you in Armenia
    • IG: @see_you_in_armenia
    • FB: @seeyouinarmenia

    It was big interview and I love it, it’s a great honor to have an opportunity interview with Siranush, thanks dear!!