By Abdul Kerimkhanov
First National Tourism Summit kicked off in Baku on October 18.
The event is organized by the State Agency for Tourism and the Bureau of Tourism of Azerbaijan.
Representatives of government agencies, diplomatic corps, tourism sector, local and foreign partner organizations and general public attended the summit. About 1,500 people participate in the event.
In his opening speech, Chairman of the State Agency Fuad Nagiyev stressed the importance of developing tourism in Azerbaijan as one of the priority areas of the country's economy.
"Today is an important day for the State Agency for Tourism. As a state structure, we hold an event for the general public for the first time. As you know, the agency was established by the order of President Ilham Aliyev in April of this year. More than seven months have passed since. We have been instructed to develop this area. In the past few years, tourism in the country has been quite successful, but much remains to be done. The purpose of this event is to acquaint you with our activities," he said.
He also informed that the State Tourism Agency intends to open foreign representative offices.
Nagiyev noted that it is necessary to increase efforts to acquaint the whole world with the tourism potential of Azerbaijan.
The agency established in April of this year, has done a great job over the past period, Nagiyev added.
The agency’s chairman stressed the importance of developing education in the area of tourism.
Nagiyev added that the agency will also take measures to improve the quality and range of services for tourists.
He noted that the tourism industry in Azerbaijan was defined by the decisions of the head of state as a priority direction for the development of the economy.
“The leadership of the country pays special attention to the tourism sector. It is under this trademark in the coming years, our country will position the full range of tourism goods and services that will contribute to the formation of the state budget, the creation of additional jobs, and incomes for the general population,” said Nagiyev.
The State Agency has identified 18 priority markets to attract tourists to Azerbaijan in the coming years. These are the countries of the Persian Gulf, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the countries of Western Europe and Israel.
Then, a new national tourism brand was presented by Fidan Guliyeva, director of brands and marketing bureau.
Guliyeva noted, to achieve the goals, a strong brand is needed.
"Azerbaijan is a country of new discoveries. This logo will help promote Azerbaijan all over the world," she said.
The presentation of a new national tourism brand will also be held at the World Travel Market Exhibition (London WTM), which will be held in London (United Kingdom) in November of this year, Guliyeva stated.
Brand was created with the participation of both local and foreign specialists. The direct executor of the work is the world-famous company Landor Associates, which for many years has been shaping the brands of many developed and developing countries of the world, corporations. Brand got the name "Take another look".
In turn, the Executive Director of the Tourism Bureau , Florian Sengshmid, said that by the end of 2018, six tourist offices in different countries will be opened.
The development of the training program of the Azerbaijan University of Tourism and Management, the opening of the exhibition center in Yanardag, the expansion of infrastructure in the Shahdag ski resort, the opening of information centers, as well as the development of accessible routes are envisaged.
By the end of 2018, official tourist offices of Azerbaijan will be opened in several countries of the world. During 2019, this process will continue.
In January-September this year, 2,208,600 foreigners and stateless persons from 193 countries arrived in Azerbaijan, which is 6.4 percent more compared to the same period last year.
Some 31.2 percent of those who arrived in Azerbaijan are citizens of Russia, 19.8 percent - Georgia, 10 percent - Turkey, 9.2 percent - Iran, 3.3 percent - the United Arab Emirates, 3 percent - Saudi Arabia, 2.7 percent - Iraq, 2 percent - Ukraine, 1.5 percent - Israel, 17.2 percent - other countries, 0.1 percent - stateless persons.
In total, 467,800 people arrived from the countries of the Persian Gulf, that is, almost every fifth tourist was a citizen of these countries.
During the period, the number of tourists from EU countries increased by 8.9 percent, reaching 88,900 people, from CIS countries - by 4.7 percent, reaching 813,700 people.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz