By Kamila Aliyeva
Foreign citizens who visited Azerbaijan in January-May 2018 carried out transactions in the amount of 513.7 million manats ($302.2 million) via their bank cards, according to the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms & Communications (IITKL).
The volume of transactions increased by 21 percent compared to the data for the same period last year.
The foreigners spent 107.3 million manats ($63.1 million) for operations via bank cards in April, which is 16 percent more than in May 2017.
In January-May 2018, over 1 million foreigners from 184 countries visited Azerbaijan, thus showing an increase of 10.1 percent compared to the previous year.
In 2017, about 2.690 million tourists visited Azerbaijan, which is 20 percent more than the indicator of 2016.
Mostly Azerbaijan was visited by tourists from Russia - 853,082 people (31.6 percent of the total amount of tourists). The second and third lines of attendance are occupied by citizens of Georgia – 537,000 (19.9 percent) and Iran – 362,000 people (13.4 percent).
Turkey is on the fourth line with 301,000 tourists (11.2 percent), the first five is closed by tourists from the UAE – 102,000 people (3.8 percent).
In 2017 there was an increase in the tourist flow from Saudi Arabia (4.5 times), Oman (7.4 times), the United Arab Emirates (1.9 times), Iran (1.4 times), India (2,3 times).
Tourism in Azerbaijan is developing rapidly, and to support the flow of foreign visitors, comprehensive activities are carried out.
Azerbaijan is engaged in the efforts to diversify the non-oil economy, and tourism industry is one of the promising sectors to contribute to the achievement of this ambitious goal.
The country has improved its tourism performance in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 released by experts of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Thanks to ASAN Visa system launched in June 2016, citizens of 95 countries are able to benefit from obtaining an e-visa in a short time. Azerbaijan applied electronic visa in order to make the process of obtaining the entry documents cheaper and quicker. Today foreigners can get e-visas just in three days.
All they need to do is to visit ASAN Visa website to submit an application, fill in the necessary information and pay the state fee online. After that, the e-visa will be sent to the email of the applicant in three days, and in case of urgent need – in three hours. The cost of a standard visa is $20, and of an urgent one – $23.
Recently, foreigners, visiting Azerbaijan, are already able to get a visa through ASAN Visa self-service terminals at the international airports of Baku, Ganja and Gabala.
Citizens of 15 countries - Bahrain, UAE, South Korea, China, Iran, Israel, Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey and Japan are able to get a visa through ASAN Visa at the airport.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz