By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Tourism is one of the leading and fastest growing sectors of the Azerbaijani economy. The fact that tourism is a strategically important sector of the national economy ensures a strong support for the industry from the government. Favorable climatic conditions allow organization of tourism at any time of year.
Tourism and hospitality sector may become the most profitable sector of the non-oil sector in 2019 and potential investors can invest in this area, Azerbaijani economist Elman Sadigov has told Trend.
He considers that the need for professionals, felt in the service sector, the lack of places for receiving and accommodating foreign tourists arriving in the country can bring significant income to those who are ready to invest in this sphere.
"One may launch activity in the tourism sector by opening a small or medium-sized hostel, a two-star hotel, or a guest house for 10-20 rooms. One may attract guests and make a profit through good service," Sadigov said.
The expert believes that the main task is to ensure that the tourist is satisfied and a positive image is created, adding that as the client potential grows, profits will also increase.
He further noted the lack of mid-segment facilities in the service sector, including cafes and restaurants. The economist said that the luxury segment – five-star hotels, expensive restaurants – are most represented, but there is a need for more facilities that would meet the middle segment requirements.
Sadigov assumes that the agriculture segment may also be attractive, but this is hard work that requires a special approach.
"It is important to be a professional in the agricultural sector. To invest in this sphere without being involved in it is a wrong approach, because the investor may be unable to understand why and how the investments are lost. Agriculture is a specific sector. Without knowing it, it may be risky to invest in it. This is a profitable sector, but only if a professional approach is taken," he mentioned.
As the expert thinks, a family business is considered another profitable area.
"ABAD (ASAN Support to Family Business) project is being implemented in Azerbaijan, which is very positive. I think every citizen can assess their potential, their interests and create a small family business by contacting ABAD centers. It may seem that self-employment sounds simple, but this is an extremely important question," he said.
The economist also warned that investing in today's popular cryptocurrency can be risky.
"The person who eyes to invest in financial markets in cryptocurrency must be careful. There is a very high volatility in this sector, which means that there is also a high risk of losses," Sadigov concluded.
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 grand 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 the 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, as many as 2,849,600 tourists from 196 countries arrived in Azerbaijan, showing a 5.7 percent increase compared to 2017.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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