Agritourism to play important role in liberated lands dev't [PHOTO]
By Ayya Lmahamad
State Tourism Agency head Kanan Gasimov has said that agritourism will play an important role in the development of Azerbaijan's liberated territories.
He made the remarks during the seminar on "the creation of a national system of agritourism", Trend has reported.
"Agriculture and tourism play an important role in Azerbaijan's current development. Agritourism combines these two important spheres. It will also play an important role in the development of the liberated territories," he said.
Noting that Azerbaijan has great potential in the field of agritourism, he stated that it will be of great benefit to agriculture as well as tourism.
Gasimov added that one of the most important elements in the development of agritourism is to improve the knowledge and skills of workers in this field.
Development within Great Return to Karabakh
Small and Medium Business Development Agency chairman Orkhan Mammadov has stated that agritourism will soon receive an additional incentive for its development, as part of the Great Return to Karabakh.
"Moreover, businessmen have the opportunity to take advantage of our Agency's grant programs, which provide financial support to each businessman in the amount of up to AZN 20,000 ($11,760)," he said.
He noted that it is planned to make agritourism one of the sustainable sectors.
Mammadov reminded that in May last year, 15 tourist facilities were commissioned to support agritourism in Ismayilli. In this regard, such regions as Guba, Gusar, Gakh, Zagatala, and a number of others have great tourism potential.
"We, along with other government agencies, will provide the necessary support for the development of agritourism in the mentioned regions," he said.
The chairman also added that the volume of the global agritourism market, according to experts, will exceed $60 billion by 2030.
European Union's support
Speaking at the seminar, the EU delegation to Azerbaijan head Peter Mikhalko stated that the European Union plans to support about 25,000 entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan.
He recalled that the EU delegation to Azerbaijan has recently announced its interest to invest more than €2 billion in Azerbaijan's economy.
The official added that the EU promotes the introduction of advanced technologies for the development of agritourism in Azerbaijan.
"We carry out a large and fruitful work in a number of regions of Azerbaijan to provide local entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to create agritourism facilities. In addition, we see great economic potential in creating links between cities and villages, which will be an additional incentive for the development of rural settlements in Azerbaijan," he said.
Noting that agritourism objects have already been created in Gakh, Sheki, Balakan and other regions, Agriculture Minister Inam Karimov stated that this field's development will contribute to the development of the non-oil sector and rural areas. He added that a lot of work is done in this direction.
"Due to the easing of the quarantine, the flow of tourists to Azerbaijan is increasing, and a lot of attention is being paid to tourism in the regions," he said.
The minister underlined that some countries have extensive experience in the development of agritourism and Azerbaijan intends to adopt it.
"The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the EU, and other major organizations support Azerbaijan in developing this sphere. In addition, we expect that the profits of entrepreneurs and farmers in this area will only grow. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture will provide all necessary support in this direction," he said.
Orkhan Mammadov also stated that about 50 more agritourism units are planned to be created in Guba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Sheki, Zagatala, Gakh, Lankaran, Astara, and Lerik regions.
He noted that the implementation of this initiative has already begun, added that the project is implemented jointly with the State Employment Agency and the State Tourism Agency.
"In general, it is important to establish cooperation and coordination between the various stakeholders in the agritourism value chain. I believe it is important to develop new projects, solve problems and create a platform for regular discussions, to combine efforts," he said.
Noting that agritourism is a new sphere and special attention should be paid to its promotion, Mammadov added that today large companies of the world tourism industry invest heavily in the agritourism segment.
"It is necessary to implement comprehensive measures to attract local and foreign investors in this sphere," he said.
The official underlined that in addition to the training of entrepreneurs and facilities in the relevant area, there is a serious need to expand marketing channels.
"In this regard, tour operators should develop interesting packages and formulate a new marketing program," he said.
"Today the countries of the world are doing a lot of work to attract tourists. In this context, participants of the Azerbaijani tourism industry should keep up with new challenges and requirements to continue the global competition," he added.
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