By Sara Rajabova
Armenia, keeping Azerbaijan's territories under occupation for over 20 years, is planning to attract tourists to the occupied territories.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that had caused a lengthy war in the early 1990s. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.
Unable to ensure the security of the visitors to the occupied territories, the Armenian government is trying to attract tourists to these areas by various ways including internet advertisement, holding tourism exhibitions and etc.
Azerbaijani government and missions abroad have always tried to prevent such actions.
Currently, Azerbaijan is preparing a draft resolution to prevent the tourism propaganda in its occupied territories.
Azerbaijan intends to include a special paragraph to prevent tourism propaganda in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan into the agenda of the next session of the Executive Committee of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Azerbaijan's Culture and Tourism Ministry said on June 9.
The 98th session of the Executive Committee of the WTO was held in Spain's Santiago de Compostela city on June 5-6.
Azerbaijan's Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister Nazim Samadov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Spain Altay Efendiyev, deputy head of the tourism department Rauf Pashayev and Director of the Baku Tourist Information Centre Zakir Aliyev attended the session.
Samadov delivered a speech during the meeting on the "The role of tourist routes in supporting regional development and integration" within the session. He touched upon facilitation of visa regime, transport infrastructure development and other issues.
Samadov also proposed to outline a special paragraph on preventing tourism propaganda in the occupied lands and prepare the relevant draft resolutions by the Azerbaijani side.
The session participants have accepted the proposal.
The occupied territories of Azerbaijan are not safe as the various terroristic groups are active in these territories which are under control of a separatist regime.
Furthermore, unauthorized visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan which are occupied by Armenia are considered illegal.
The individuals who pay such visits are included in Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's "black list" and considered as "persona-non-grata."