By Amina Nazarli
The first-ever Baku Shopping Festival, one of the most-awaited events in the country, continues to please shopaholics and tourists.
Residents of the city, tourists respond positively about the festival and entertainments programs organized within the event.
The festival attracts a large number of tourists day by day. And the number is expected to increase, as AlJazeera Airways will open flights from Kuwait to Baku since April 26.
More than 350 tourists will take advantage of two charter flights that will allow tourists to see beauty of Azerbaijan, as well as to join the Baku Shopping Festival.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to Kuwait Elkhan Gahraman said that Azerbaijan became one of few countries hosting such a festival, and this attracts tourists a lot.
Gahraman said that Kuwaitis are very interested in visiting Azerbaijan. "And this is in spite of the fact that Kuwaiti Arabs do not travel much before the month of Ramadan and in the period when the academic year is coming to an end," he said.
The Baku Shopping Festival will last until May 10. The shopping festival is being held with organizational support of the Azerbaijan Convention Bureau under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The event simultaneously covers several areas – trade, tourism, entertainment, fashion and culture. The purpose of holding trade festivals is to increase the economic and tourist potential of Azerbaijan, stimulate the country’s trade turnover by encouraging entrepreneurship.
Speaking of the event, Levente Kozma, the former Hungarian senior foreign policy adviser told Trend, that holding the Baku Shopping Festival is one of the best ways of increasing the tourist flow to Azerbaijan.
He noted that Azerbaijan, which is seeking to achieve and maintain sustainable and long-run tourism development, should create positive and fruitful interaction between locals and foreign tourists.
A shopping festival is one of the most preferred methods of attracting tourists, with the main thing being offering a wide range of goods at a good price, according to Evgeny Mikhailov, the Russian political scientist, editor-in-chief of the “Analytics of Southern Russia” publication.
He said that in many countries such events are held very successfully.
“Shopping festivals have long been held in the countries of Western Europe,” the expert told Trend. “In particular, shopping festivals in Italy and Greece attract tourists. If Baku successfully uses the experience of other countries in attracting tourists, then tourist flow to Azerbaijan will increase even more.”
At the same time, the expert noted, shopping is only one of the components of the successful tourism development in Azerbaijan.
“Everything is beautiful in Azerbaijan, it is a beautiful country with inexpensive hotels and hospitable people,” Mikhailov said. “Every year, the flow of tourists increases, and I hope that nothing will prevent Azerbaijan from becoming one of the leading tourism countries.”
These Festival also provide for encouragement of the tax system, improvement of tax administration through the application of the VAT refund system for the goods not intended for production or commercial purposes and which were purchased by individuals during the trade festivals in Azerbaijan, the development of a system for servicing taxpayers.