By Akbar Mammadov
The chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Tourism Agency Fuad Naghiyev Naghiyev has said that the development of domestic tourism will be a priority in the post-pandemic period.
Addressing the video conference held on June 1 and titled "Road to Recovery", Naghiyev said that various scenarios on the possible impact of the pandemic on tourism have been prepared and submitted to the government. These include the expected risks, job creation and proposals to reduce the impact of the crisis on the activities of entrepreneurs in the field of tourism.
Furthermore, he said that the process of normalization of tourism is planned in four stages.
“The first stage is training, the creation of a new online platform, changes in foreign marketing strategy, promotion of domestic tourism campaign and industry support, the second stage is the restoration of domestic tourism, in the third and fourth stages, it is planned to open the borders first with neighbouring and then with other countries”.
Naghiyev also gave information about the refunding of taxes paid by entrepreneurs in 2019, the exemption of medium and small businesses from 75 per cent of income tax for 2020, the provision of benefits for social payments and lending.
He also added that 650 hotels and hotel-type facilities, more than 18,000 catering facilities and 4,402 travel agencies and tour operators benefited from the program.
Naghiyev said that the Azerbaijani government and the State Tourism Agency have taken preventive measures since the second half of February 2020 to ensure the sustainability of the tourism industry and minimize the effects of the pandemic.
In the meantime, stressing the fact that Azerbaijan is a safe tourism destination, he said that the “SAHMAN” (Sanitation and Hygiene Methods and Norms) program has been developed to strengthen this position.
It should be noted that on 27 April, the Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB), together with the State Tourism Agency (STA) of the Republic of Azerbaijan and in cooperation with Food Safety Agency of Azerbaijan (AQTA), announced the launch of an innovative program called SAHMAN (Sanitation and Hygiene Methods and Norms).
As part of the countrywide measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, SAHMAN is founded upon safety, transparency, social responsibility and inclusivity. The programme will adopt a holistic approach to fuel innovation across the tourism industry, ensuring the involvement of all relevant public and private partners, and the safety of those working in the sector.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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