By Leman Mammadova
In the modern world, tourism is one of the most dynamically developing and profitable sectors of the economy for each country.
Therefore, Azerbaijan aims to develop this sphere by all possible means. Sustainable development of the non-oil sector, in particular the tourism sector, is crucial at a time when it is impossible to fully rely on oil and gas industry.
The country enjoys a great potential for the development of tourism. Nature, climate, historical monuments, cuisine, rich culture of the people and other factors lay the foundation for the development of many areas of tourism. There are wide opportunities for Azerbaijan to be recognized as a tourist destination in the world.
An agreement was signed to launch official foreign tourism offices of Azerbaijan in six foreign countries.
According to the contract, Travel Consul Agency Network Worldwide has acquired the right to open official tourism offices in six countries through its world-renowned divisions, the State Tourism Agency told Trend.
Tourism offices in foreign countries aim to introduce Azerbaijan's tourism opportunities, conduct propaganda and campaigning.
Representation offices in Frankfurt in Germany (Lieb Management & Beteiligungs GmbH), Dubai in UAE (Gulf Reps Ltd), Riyad in Saudi Arabia (Gulf Reps Ltd), Beijing in China (Brand story Inc Pte Ltd), Mumbai in India (Blue Square Consultants, a division of Ezeego One Travel & Tours Limited) and Moscow in Russia (Tourism Marketing & Intelligence Ltd) are aimed to achieve recognition of the country abroad, to increase the flow of tourists from the target markets, and to promote the development of tourism in the country as a whole.
The representations will operate in areas such as propagation of tourism potential of Azerbaijan and the region in which they operate, marketing research, preparation of reports, publication of propaganda materials and conducting trainings.
Organization of official tourism missions will also serve to organize seminars on Azerbaijan, as well as meetings for cooperation of tourism and travel companies in regions and Azerbaijan, support Azerbaijan's participation in international exhibitions and coordinate activities to stimulate bilateral relations.
Continuous development and expansion of tourism has made this sector a key driving force in socio-economic progress. It shows itself in creating new jobs, establishing tourism related businesses and infrastructure.
The beautiful nature of Azerbaijan, hospitality of its people, the country's capital with its super modern and ancient buildings draws the attention of all tourists visiting this South Caucasian country. Moreover, the recent devaluation of Azerbaijani manat much facilitated tourist inflow to the Land of Fire. All this is expected to soon place the country amongs major tourism countries of the world.
The growing popularity of Azerbaijan among foreign tourists has led to the emergence of a new trend in the field of local hospitality - rural tourism as well as the traditional tourism types. The country’s regions began to attract more and more foreign and local tourists, wishing to familiarize with non-western culture and different lifestyle, which they find in rural areas.
Azerbaijan is among the fastest-growing destinations for tourists.
In January-October 2018, 2,420,400 foreigners and stateless persons from 194 countries arrived in Azerbaijan, and this indicates a 6.1 percent growth compared to the same period of 2017. Russians made up the majority of the tourists who visited Azerbaijan. As many as 31.1 percent of the tourists came from Russia.
According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, 2 691 998 foreign tourists visited Azerbaijan last year, which is 20 percent more than in 2016.
It is emphasized that most tourists came to Azerbaijan in July - 313 515 people.
It is noted that in the winter, both domestic and foreign tourists prefer the Shahdag Gusar and Gabala Tufandag tourist centers.
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