By Naila Huseynli
Tourism is developing at an unprecedented rate in Azerbaijan, which in recent years turned into favorite destination for many people from all over the world.
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Tourism Association Nahid Bagirov said that tourist flow to Azerbaijan continues to increase.
"As in 2017, the majority of tourists came from the Arab world, which is explained by the opening of new direct flights between Azerbaijan and Arab countries. There was a growth in the number of tourists from Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, a decline was recorded in the number of Emirati tourists," Bagirov said.
Decline in the tourist flow from the UAE is due to the increased rivalry in the market, he noted.
"The rivalry for the Arab tourist market is very high and many countries - Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Russia and others - are constantly trying to create the best conditions for Arab tourists to attract them. Recently, Azerbaijan has simplified the visa regime for UAE residents, and I think this will allow us increase the number of Emirati tourists," Bagirov said.
"Along with the Arab countries, there was also an increase in the tourist flow from Russia, CIS and Israel," he added.
Along with the Arab countries, there was also an increase in the tourist flow from Russia, CIS and Israel, according to the chairman.
Bagirov went on to say that not only Baku, but also the regions of the country are very popular among the visitors.
The statistics shows that in January-July 2018, about 1.6 million foreigners and stateless persons from 191 countries of the world arrived in Azerbaijan, which is 9.1 percent more compared to the same period of the last year.
Of the total number of arrivals, 31.5 percent accounts for Russian citizens, 19.8 percent - Georgian citizens, 10.3 percent - Turkish citizens, 10 percent - Iranian citizens, while 3.5 percent came from the United Arab Emirates, 2.4 percent - from Iraq, 2 percent - from Ukraine, 20.4 percent - from other countries, and 0.1 percent falls for stateless persons.
The State Committee reported that men dominated in the tourist arrival indicator with 67.2 percent, while 32.8 percent were female travelers. In addition it was stated that 11.3 percent of foreigners and stateless persons visited Azerbaijan in January. The percentage of tourist arrivals fluctuated in the following months. Thus, it amounted to 10 percent in February, 16.7 percent in March, 13.2 percent in April, 12.6 percent in May, 16.2 percent in June, and 20 percent in July.
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