By Rashid Shirinov
The mesmerizing mix of East and West, the possibility to have a rest on the Caspian Sea shore and enjoy fresh air and delicious meals have always been attracting tourists to Azerbaijan. Many of them get so much fascinated with the country and its capital Baku that they come back to visit Azerbaijan again after a while.
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Tourism Association Nahid Bagirov told Trend that the majority of tourists re-visiting Azerbaijan are citizens of Iran and Arab countries, in particular, citizens of the United Arab Emirates.
As for the tourists from Europe, Asia and CIS countries, Bagirov noted that a small part of them re-visit Azerbaijan.
“However, tourists from Iran and Arab countries visit the country not two, but even 3-4 times. Their lifestyle and interest in traveling are different. The culture of tourism of Europeans is different, they like to travel to different countries,” the chairman said.
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 Caucasus country. The tourists mainly visit the most popular destinations – Baku, Gabala, Guba and other cities.
Not surprisingly, overseas visitors flocked to the Land of Fire in record numbers in 2017. Their number increased by 20 percent compared to 2016 and reached 2,691,998 – this is the highest figure observed in Azerbaijan so far.
The statistics indicate that Azerbaijan is already one of the most favorite place for travel of many Arab tourists And Iranians. In comparison with 2016, there were 4.5 times more tourists from Saudi Arabia, 7.4 times more from Oman, 1.9 times – from the UAE, as well as 1.4 times more – from Iran in 2017.
The main factors attracting these tourists to Azerbaijan include beautiful nature, halal foods in restaurants, direct flights as well as short distance between the countries. Another reason causing the increasing influx of Arab and Iranian tourists is the stability and safety present in Azerbaijan.
Many Iranian tourists visit Azerbaijan during the whole year, and especially during the Novruz holiday traditionally marked in both countries in spring. The colorful holiday accompanied by interesting traditions, customs and events have always been a sort of entertainment for many tourists from the neighboring countries, including Iran.
Last year, as many as 362,597 Iranian citizens visited Azerbaijan, thus taking the third place after Russia and Georgia in the tourist flow in Azerbaijan. Alongside capital city Baku, Iranian tourists took part in tours to tourist routes such as Lankaran, Lerik, Masalli, Gabala and Sheki.
Today Azerbaijan continues to develop its tourism potential, and there is no doubt that the number of tourists re-visiting this South Caucasus country will increase even more in the near future.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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