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Azerbaijan's strengthened ties with OIC catalyse tourism sector growth

2 May 2024 16:00 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan's strengthened ties with OIC catalyse tourism sector growth

By Nazrin Abdul, AZERNEWS

The tourism sector in Azerbaijan has witnessed a remarkable resurgence, with a substantial increase in visitor numbers during the first quarter of this year, Azernews reports.

According to Kanan Gasimov, Chief of Staff of the State Tourism Agency, Azerbaijan has swiftly revitalised its tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gasimov's remarks, as reported by Azernews, highlight a significant surge in tourist arrivals, with 513,413 visitors recorded in January-March of the current year. This figure reflects a notable 39 percent increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

Gasimov attributed this growth to the concerted efforts and support of the state in bolstering the tourism sector. Notably, Azerbaijan welcomed 2.2 million tourists last year, marking a substantial 30 percent increase over the previous year.

Looking ahead, Gasimov noted plans to collaborate on joint projects with countries within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). These initiatives aim to further enhance tourist visits to Azerbaijan.

It's important to highlight that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) serves as a significant international body, uniting 57 member states and acting as the collective voice for the Muslim world.

Following Azerbaijan's reestablishment of independence, it promptly pursued OIC membership, successfully joining in 1991.

In 2017, Azerbaijan proudly designated the "Year of Islamic Solidarity," marked by a series of impactful events. Among these, Baku hosted the IV Islamic Solidarity Games, a major sporting event of the OIC, attracting participants from 54 nations across 24 sports.

This initiative notably sparked a substantial surge in tourism from Muslim-majority countries, underscoring the power of cultural and sporting exchanges in fostering global connections and understanding.

Of particular note was the remarkable rise in arrivals from Gulf countries. Compared to 2016, the influx from Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Iran experienced exponential growth, collectively contributing to a 65.2% surge in arrivals from the Gulf, totaling 614.7 thousand people.

This trend extended beyond the Gulf, with notable upticks in arrivals from other regions. Notably, arrivals from European Union member states rose by 17.4% to reach 105.4 thousand, while arrivals from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries increased by 14.3%, totaling 1006.5 thousand people during 2017.

The impact was palpable as Azerbaijan welcomed 2696.7 thousand foreigners and stateless individuals from 187 nations in 2017, marking a 19.9% rise from the previous year.

Significantly, there was a remarkable surge in arrivals from Gulf countries. Compared to 2016, the number of visitors from Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Iran saw exponential growth. Collectively, these countries contributed to a 65.2% increase in arrivals from the Gulf, totaling 614.7 thousand people.

This trend extended beyond the Gulf region, with notable increases in arrivals from other parts of the world. Noteworthy was the rise in visitors from European Union member states, up by 17.4% to 105.4 thousand, and from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, up by 14.3% to 1006.5 thousand during 2017.

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