By Narmina Mammadova
Azerbaijan is among the developing countries in the field of tourism, occupying the 39th place among 148 countries in terms of global competitiveness in tourism.
Thanks to the wonderful climate of Azerbaijan, rich 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 guests visiting this South Caucasus country.
As a result of measures taken by the state, the country has created a modern hotel and tourist infrastructure, trained personnel for the industry, formed an extensive network of travel agencies, created information and advertising structures, developed many tourist routes across the country, running through the most scenic and fertile areas. These are the main reasons why the number of tourists visiting not only the capital, Baku, but also the regions of the country, is increasing day by day.
In January-November 2018, the number of foreigners traveling from 193 countries to Azerbaijan amounted to 2.5 million people, thus showing a 6 percent increase compared to the same period of 2017.
In December 2018, the number of foreign citizens who visited Azerbaijan increased by about one percent compared to the same period in 2017, reaching 2.8 million people, Azerbaijan's State Tourism Agency reports.
In general, the number of citizens who visited Azerbaijan during 2018 increased by 6 percent, or 153,000 people.
The flow of tourists from Russia, Georgia and the countries of the Middle East amounted to one third of the total number of visitors to Azerbaijan in 2018. The share of Georgia, the countries of the Middle East and Asia, from which the largest number of tourists arrive in Azerbaijan, increased by one, two and two percent, respectively. Russia and Turkey lost approximately one percent of their market share, and Iran lost five percent.
The countries of the Middle East and Asia are leading in terms of growth in the number of tourists: by 35 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Saudi Arabia stands out among the countries of the Middle East (tourist traffic increased by 120 percent or 41,000 people), Israel (161 percent or 40,000 people) and Kuwait (81 percent or 30,000 people), among Asian countries - Pakistan (135 percent or 73,000 people) and India (175 percent or 39,000 people).
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.
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