By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan, rich with natural resources, found its niche in the sphere of medical tourism. With its rich natural resources, some of which are considered a remedy of many diseases, Azerbaijan can safely be called the curative hub of the region, with its mineral waters and healing mud.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has developed a draft “Action Plan for the Development of Health Tourism for 2018-2020.”
The minister Abulfas Garayev made the remarks on March 15 at a meeting dedicated to the development of health tourism.
He said that like other types of tourism, health tourism has great potential in Azerbaijan and noted that the strategic road map allocates a special place for development of this type of tourism.
Garayev added that Azerbaijan has rich traditions of health tourism, and especially noted the methods of treatment by Naftalan oil.
“Presently, health tourism is experiencing a new stage of development in our country. New infrastructure has been created in Naftalan, Galaalti, Gabala, Nakhchivan and Lankaran,” said the minister, adding that work continues on the establishment of recreational tourism zones in Khizi-Khachmaz, Guba and Gusar regions.
Garayev noted the importance of improving the quality and quantity of services provided in these tourist service centers. He added that the organization of excursions to nearby cities and regions plays a special role in tourists’ effective leisure activities.
“Along with the fact that this will bring additional income to tourism enterprises, it will also serve to promote the culture and historical places of Azerbaijan,” the minister said.
Azerbaijan offers great recreation for tourists both in the traditional and health tourism. It is noteworthy that the country was named among Top five countries in the category of “Wellness Holiday,” according to the results of the Internet voting of National Geographic Traveler Awards 2017.
The health tourism in Azerbaijan has been noticeably improved after the adoption of the state program on development of resorts in 2009-2018. The Association to support the health and thermal tourism in Azerbaijan was established in order to boost the health tourism, as well as modern medical and health centers were opened in Baku, Naftalan, Nakhchivan and other regions of the country.
The oil produced in the town of Naftalan deserves particular attention. Known since ancient times and mentioned in the works of prominent Greece historians Herodotus and Plutarch, Naftalan oil is used for therapeutic baths to treat over 70 illnesses. The town has a special treatment center with unique natural treatments that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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