By Amina Nazarli
Today tourism is developing with high speed in Azerbaijan, with a contribution of 4.5% to the national GDP. The country witnesses more than 2.5 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and thousands of domestic tourism visits.
The hotel and tourism-related industry has been declared among high priority industries for foreign investment in the country, while demand in strong travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators rises.
Tour operators engaged in arranging itineraries and market tours to customers is a main component of the tourism industry as they control where many tourists go and which facilities they consume.
Henceforth, tour operators operating in Azerbaijan will be able to advertise or sell tourist products, as well as entrust its advertising and sale to a travel agent, in accordance with the draft law "On Tourism".
Under the draft law, the sale of tourism products or individual services to a consumer is performed under a travel services agreement.
Tour operators and travel agents should prepare a catalogue of their services, where every kind of tourism products should be reflected, as well as indicate distribution of the services. The catalogue should also indicate the prices for these services, and the total value of tourism products with discount.
If travel products involve traveling to a country where compulsory insurance of tourists is applicable, then the catalogue must also include security conditions as well.
Another issue reflected in the amendments proposed to the draft law is establishment of institutions for carrying out scientific research in tourism sphere.
Under the draft law the government will appoint persons for conducting scientific research. Moreover, the government will provide financial and technical assistance to NGOs engaged in such activities.
Azerbaijan, a unique land in the Caucasus, has appeared not so long ago on the tourism map of world. The country with its favorable geographical location, rich natural landscape and numerous objects of historical and cultural heritage is a good place for the development of tourism.
The state makes everything possible to use its natural advantages to develop the tourism sector of the country, implementing various projects and programs for attracting tourists to the Land of Fire.