By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Tourist trips from Russia to Azerbaijan increased by 2 percent in 2018, according to the data of the analytical agency TurStat.
The agency presented a rating of countries visited by Russian tourists in 2018, analysing the statistics of outbound tourist trips from the Russian Federation.
So, according to the statistics, Azerbaijan ranked 17th among foreign countries preferred by Russian tourists.
The number of tours from Russia to Azerbaijan increased by 2 percent to 748,000 in 2018.
The list of top ten foreign countries, popular among the Russian tourists last year by the number of outbound tourist trips from Russia, includes Turkey (5,719,000 trips), Abkhazia (4,496,000), Finland (3,361,000), Kazakhstan (2,955,000), Ukraine (2,290,000), China (2,018,000), Estonia (1,798,000), Germany (1,297,000), Georgia (1,233,000 (+ 23 percent) and Thailand (1,173,000).
The increase of flow is not by chance. This is facilitated by various popular events held in Azerbaijan, for example, Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the “Zhara” festival and the Gabala Music Festival.
Therefore, successful holding of events of international significance in Azerbaijan has a positive impact on the number of tourists arriving in the country.
As an example, by 2023, it is planned to increase the incoming tourist flow to Azerbaijan to four million people thanks to the "Grand Prix of Azerbaijan" races of the Formula 1 series which to be held in Baku on 26-28 April 2019 and attracts greater interest rather than previous ones.
It is also worth mentioning the magnificent beaches, which are no worse than Turkish or Italian, but much closer and always on the spotlight of Russian tourists. And soon their number will be increased - the country has adopted a plan for the development of beach tourism until 2020. For those who enjoy a relaxing holiday, the miraculous Azerbaijani health resorts will also be a popular choice: what is Naftalan oil is known all over the world.
And of course, it should be noted separately that the Russian tourist in Azerbaijan will be even more comfortable than any other. After all, our countries maintained close and friendly relations throughout the history. There are many Russian speakers in Azerbaijan, so the problem of communication is absent as such.
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.
The successful holding of such great events has turned Azerbaijan into a country recognizable by everyone in the world, and a country that many foreigners wish to visit as soon as possible.
Moreover, simplification of visa regime also plays a major role in the development of tourism in Azerbaijan. Currently, citizens of a number of countries get visas right at the Azerbaijani airports, while other tourists can visit the country by getting online tourist visas.
In 2018, 2,849,600 tourists from 196 countries arrived in Azerbaijan, showing a 5.7 percent increase compared to 2017.
Further, touching upon the recent statistics, 364,200 foreigners and stateless persons from 152 countries of the world arrived in Azerbaijan in January-February of this year, which is 3.3 percent more compared to the same period last year.
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