By Rashid Shirinov
The number of tourists who came to Azerbaijan in the first three months of this year increased by 12.5 percent compared to the same period of last year, according to Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev.
He noted that there was an increase in the number of tourists who came to Azerbaijan in March this year.
“This growth was about 13 percent compared to March last year. Many tourists visited Azerbaijan for the Novruz holiday this year, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Tourism Promotion Bureau held many events during the holiday,” Garayev said on April 4, noting that more than 1-1.5 million people took part in these events.
“This is a good indicator. I think that Azerbaijan is on the right track in the development of tourism,” he noted.
Previously, chairman of Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTA) Nahid Bagirov informed that this year, tourists mainly from Iran, Arab countries, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries came to celebrate Novruz in Azerbaijan. Moreover, there was an increase in the number of tourists who came from Arab countries for this holiday.
Garayev also mentioned that the worldwide experience shows that the sector of culture brings revenue to the state. “The culture sector in Azerbaijan should also bring income to the state, and additional opportunities should be created for it,” he said.
The minister added that expanding the opportunities of the sector of culture will help increase the flow of tourists to the country.
He further noted that the means adopted worldwide should be used in order to increase revenues from tourism: “If somebody wants to receive income from tourism, then this should be done skillfully, using the worldwide accepted tools.”
Thanks to the wonderful climate of Azerbaijan, its culture, cuisine, nature, attractions, and diversity, more and more tourists visit the country every year. Also, hospitality of Azerbaijani people, the capital with its super modern and ancient buildings draw the attention of all tourists visiting this South Caucasian country. The tourists mainly visit the most popular destinations – Baku, Gabala, Quba and many other cities.
As for the tourism infrastructure, today Azerbaijan can accommodate about 40,000 tourists in its 575 hotels, which include a series of luxury ones – Excelsior, Hilton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, JW Marriott – as well as several budget hotels for cost-conscious travelers. Moreover, 25 hostels and 92 apartments for tourists operate in Baku.
The number of foreign nationals who arrived in Azerbaijan last year increased by 449,215 people or 20 percent compared to 2016, hitting the figure of 2,691,998 people.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz