Country preparing new strategy for development of health tourism
By Naila Huseynli
Recently, traveling for health and wellness became one of the most important tourist patterns of economic returns generated by the tourism industry, tourist destinations and the health sector. The number of tourists coming for medical treatment has increased in the last ten years, which it shows the great potential for further development of recreational tourism in Azerbaijan.
In this regard, a new strategy for the development of health tourism in Azerbaijan may be adopted by the end of 2018.
“The strategy is almost ready and must be submitted to the Azerbaijani parliament in the near future,” Ruslan Guliyev, chairman of the Association for Support of Medical and Thermal Tourism of Azerbaijan, president of the World Health Tourism Organization told Trend.
The representative of the association noted that at the beginning of the year it was planned to adopt the "Action Plan for the Development of Health Tourism", designed for 2018-2020, but this process is delayed due to reforms in the ministry and the establishment of new State Tourism Agency.
"In general, the creation of the Action Plan remains a priority, most likely, it will be approved after the development strategy is adopted," Guliyev said.
Azerbaijan took over a chairmanship in the World Health Tourism Organization from the UAE in 2018.
"Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in the World Health Tourism Organization will further develop tourism in the country," he added.
Azerbaijan has been a member of this international organization since 2014, in which 60 countries are represented, including Russia, UK, Germany, Turkey and India.
The health tourism in Azerbaijan has been noticeably improved after the adoption of the state program on development of resorts in 2009-2018. To boost the sector, there was established the Association to support the health and thermal tourism in Azerbaijan, as well as modern medical and health centers were opened in Baku, Naftalan, Nakhchivan and other regions of the country.
The fresh mountain air, pure water, organic fruits of the Azerbaijani regions and beach recreation on the Caspian Sea Shore have already known among many tourists. It would suffice to mention the world famous Istisu, Galaalti, Naftalan, Duzdag recreational resorts.
Azerbaijan is rich with hot and mineral springs, thermal sulphur-hydrogen water sources and all types of mud volcanoes that are used for medical purposes. There are around 300 mud volcanoes existing in Azerbaijan. The mud is used for treatment of radiculitis, skin, cardiovascular, gynecological, urological diseases, and gastrointestinal disturbances. It is also widely used in the cosmetology. Another exceptional medical product of Azerbaijan is its well-known healing “Naftalan” oil which is considered a treatment for many diseases. Naftalan, the place of origin of this crude oil, is a famous balneotherapeutic health resort well-known for its oil baths.
Moreover, Azerbaijan is also known for its salt mines used for asthma therapy. The most popular one is called “Duzdagh Cave” (salty mountain cave) located in Nakhchivan. There are over-and underground treatment premises located 300 meters below sea level. The Cave is rich with sodium chloride ions which are useful for treatment of bronchial asthma, hay fever, bronchitis, rhinitis and other respiratory organs diseases.
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