Azerbaijan reduces visa issuing term for tourists

By Amina Nazarli

Now visiting Azerbaijan is not a problem for those desiring to receive permission for entry into the country in a short term.

The amendments to be applied to the migration law beginning from February 1 at President Ilham Aliyev's order, reduce the issuing term of electronic visas for foreigners desiring to travel to the country dropped from 10 to 5 days.

As many as 45,000 foreigners received visas for visiting the country upon switching to electronic application in March 2013.T

The electronic visa system is designed to provide a simplified and rapid issuing a an entry permission for foreign tourists wishing to visit the country, as well as to reduce travel packages at prices of individual and group tourist visits, and to increase the flow of tourists to Azerbaijan.

Foreigners and stateless persons may obtain an electronic tourist visa through travel agencies accredited at the Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism Ministry. List of companies are published on the websites of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the embassies of Azerbaijan in foreign countries.

Foreign nationals wishing to visit Azerbaijan as a tourist can apply for visa through email by contacting the travel agency by phone, e-mail or by using the opportunities created on the web page of the company, providing the required documents and paying a state fee in the amount of $20.

The documents required for getting an electronic visa include a filled and signed e-Visa application form, Passport style colored photo (dimensions 3x4), a colored copy of Passport’s main page, and a copy of round-trip flight ticket or reservation.

Today the capital Baku, located at the meeting-point of Europe and Asia, remains the focus of many tourists visiting the country.

Currently, the government conducts several measures to attract tourists to its regions, rich with history and unique nature.

President of Azerbaijan Airlines Company Jahangir Asgarov told The Business Year magazine that Azerbaijan is interested in attracting foreign carriers to fly into the country's regions, adding that negotiations with a number of airlines, including low-cost are underway.

“Increase of flights from abroad in the regions of Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of tourism in the country. Azerbaijan has many beautiful places that I'm sure the guests will like. In addition, technical support of regional airports is cheaper, and ticket prices in the regions may be lower than for similar flights in Baku,” he said.

Currently, Azerbaijan has five airports in the regions including Nakhchivan, Ganja, Gabala, Lankaran and Zagatala, which have the international status and meet all modern requirements in the field of civil aviation work.

Turkish and Russian air companies carry out flights to the country’s regions.

Asgarov noted that the main problem the air companies face now is financial crisis.

“The difficult economic situation in many countries has led to a decrease in the purchasing power of the population, as people began to save money on trips abroad. Many private companies are also trying to minimize their costs,” he noted.

From February 1, AZAL, one of the leaders of the aviation community of the CIS countries, announced new airfare for budget round-trip flights on departure from the national airports to the most popular destinations in Turkey, Georgia, Russia, UAE and Iran.

“The launch of low-cost flights to popular destinations was an important step for AZAL. We plan to continue working in this direction in order to provide the most favorable and flexible terms in our pricing policy. In parallel, we will continue negotiations with our foreign counterparts for the implementation of flights to new destinations and the signing of code-share agreements,” AZAL’s president said.

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Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

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