By Aygul Salmanova
Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, will launch a new route to Azerbaijan, flying to the popular touristic city of Gabala from June 27, the Arab media reported on January 8.
The flights will be operated three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing Sharjah International Airport at 13:00 (GMT +4) and arriving at Gabala International Airport at 16:10 (GMT +4). The return flight will depart Gabala at 17:15 landing in Sharjah at 19:50.
Adel Al Ali, group chief executive officer of Air Arabia, said that Gabala is a sought-after destination and is highly appealing to people in the Gulf region.
“Our flights to Gabala increase the offering of affordable travel to passengers in the Gulf and Azerbaijan, and boost our network in the Caucasus region,” he said.
Air Arabia currently operates flights on 133 routes across the globe from five hubs located in the Middle East and North Africa. The airway currently serves Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, with daily flights.
Speaking of tourists visiting Azerbaijan, it is impossible to avoid the growing number of tourists coming from Muslim countries. And due to the influx of Muslim guests, the country now is considering to develop halal tourism, a sub-category of tourism that is aligned with the laws and traditions of Islam.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry previously reported that the number of visitors to Azerbaijan amounted to about 2.5 million people during 11 months of 2017. Of these, 87,215 were citizens of the United Arab Emirates.
It should be particularly mentioned that Azerbaijan has lately became the most favorite place for travel of many Arab tourists. The majority of them are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq.
Short distance between Azerbaijan and their countries is one of the reasons of such a great tourist growth. In the 2016 survey of GMTI covering 130 tourist destinations, Azerbaijan, has ranked 20th among the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Additionally, there is a visa-free regime for persons with diplomatic and service passports, and since 2015, the UAE citizens has been visiting Azerbaijan on the basis of a simplified visa system. They can obtain an entry visa, valid for 30 days’ stay, at any international airport in Azerbaijan.
Furthermore, the cause of massive growth of Arab tourists is due to the country's security and safety, as well as in multicultural values.
Another reason for the launch of this new route connecting Gabala with the Gulf region is the fact that the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Azerbaijan. Gabala, with its beautiful waterfalls, streams and emerald green forests, has turned into one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the region. The abundance of attractions, natural paradise and well developed infrastructure attract thousands of tourists.
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