By Aygul Salmanova
On the eve of the New Year people throughout the world prefer either staying in their home countries and spend time with their loved ones or traveling to new destinations and exploring different sights. Winter months are fantastic time to visit Azerbaijan and discover new sides of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
The number of Azerbaijanis traveling abroad during the New Year holidays has decreased and the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan has increased compared to last year, head of Azerbaijan Tourism Association Nahid Bagirov told Trend.
Most Azerbaijani citizens have spent their holiday in the regions of the country - Guba, Gusar, Gabala and Lankaran.
Bagirov said that most of the Azerbaijani citizens who wanted to spend their holidays abroad went to neighboring Georgia. However, there is no increase in the number of Azerbaijani nationals visiting Georgia this year compared to last year.
The head of the association noted that the main reason why Azerbaijani tourists prefer Georgia cannot be explained only by the cheap service prices in that country. This is also due to the fact that the country is closer to Azerbaijan having a 50-minute flight and 5 hours car distance.
Bagirov added that Azerbaijani tourists preferred to spend New Year holidays in Georgia, Turkey, Europe and United Arab Emirates (Dubai).
The head of the association added that the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan from abroad increased this year. More tourists from Arab countries, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan visited Azerbaijan.
More than 16,000 tourists visited Shahdag Tourism Complex, the most attractive sides for the local and foreign tourists, during holidays, the center told Trend. More than 40 percent of them were ski lovers who visited the center for skiing.
The Tourism Center has worked in an enhanced working mode to render better service for the tourists during holidays.
Among many skiing destinations, Azerbaijan just recently appeared on the map, but has already managed to become famous and loved by many.
Appearance of ski tourism in the southern country was something improbable and impossible for many, whilst this did not prevent development of successful winter tourism complexes in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, an incredibly beautiful area of unique nature contrasts: 9 out of 11 climate zones are observed in the country. Northern region is adjacent to the ridge of the Caucasus Mountains, and winters here are cold and snowy.
The country decided to use this advantage in January 2013 and in 30 km from the town of Gusar, the first hotels and the ski slopes of the complex Shahdag was opened. It stands 2,500 meters above sea level and serves as an outstanding getaway with its rich nature, fresh air, and wonderful climate. The temperatures at Shahdag ranges from winter lows of -20°C to pleasant summer evenings of 20°C.
The uniqueness of the ski resorts in Azerbaijan is that they receive visitors both in winter and summer. In hot weather mainly extreme sports are popular, while with the onset of winter skiers and snowboarders flock here.
The complexes repeatedly entered different rankings for tourists. So, since 2013, Shahdag has been visited by over 310,000 tourists and the highest peak was reached last year.
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