By Nigar Orujova
The global economic crisis may affect tourism in Azerbaijan, said Aydin Ismiyev, head of the tourism department at the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Speaking at a press conference on the Azerbaijan International Exhibition Tourism and Travel scheduled for April 2-4 in Baku, Ismiyev said Azerbaijan is mostly visited by tourists from Russia, Turkey, Iran and Georgia.
The economic crisis has changed people's financial situation over the past two or three years, and many people can no longer afford to visit any country those days. "Of course, from this point of view, the crisis may have some impact on tourism," Ismiyev said.
He stressed that the global economic crisis did not lead to higher prices for accommodation in Azerbaijan, and that the cost of accommodation is suitable for tourists visiting the country.
From this point of view, the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan may increase, he said, adding possibility of price rise for overseas tours for Azerbaijanis.
"Agencies are booking hotels abroad in euros and dollars. And then, given the exchange rates, those prices may certainly bear negative consequences on final prices," he explained.
Prices for tours, established two years ago, lost their relevance today, the department head said.
Ismiyev also noted that the number of countries informed about tourism opportunities in Azerbaijan has increased.
“Azerbaijan is known worldwide as a tourist country and took its place in the global tourism market,” he added.
He went on to add that Azerbaijan plans to use insurance in the tourism sector, as well as insurance of traveling companies.
The new draft low "On Tourism" has already been prepared by the Ministry and sent to the Cabinet of Ministers.
This bill provides for the application of insurance in the tourism sector. Certain financial difficulties in the payment of damages to customers occur in case of bankruptcy of travel agencies in Russia and Turkey. However, there will be no such problems in the application of insurance, he said.
Ismiyev stressed that not all travel agencies and hotels are at an appropriate level in Azerbaijan.
"Currently 284 travel agencies and 535 hotels are operating in the country. However, their service is unsatisfactory,” he said.
In order to investigate the level of preparation for the first European Games, hotels throughout the country were monitored and the monitoring is still ongoing. Moreover, The Culture and Tourism Ministry together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations held monitoring sessions in order to study the issue of security of hotels.
The department chief said that during the first European Games in Baku hotels will not face any accommodation problem.
Ismiyev also reminded that the number of four-star hotels increased in Baku over the past three or four years. The daily tariff of four stars hotels range in between 70-80 manats.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz