By Leman Mammadova
Baku-Delhi direct flight will contribute to further development of tourism relations between India and Azerbaijan.
Starting from June 25, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) will launch regular and charter flights from Baku to Delhi, the capital of India.
Flights will be operated once a week on Tuesdays on Boeing-757 aircraft with economy and business class configurations. Starting from autumn, it is planned to increase the number of flights to twice a week. Departures will be carried out through Terminal 1 of Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku.
At present, flights between India to Azerbaijan are mainly carried out through Gulf states.
Delhi, called the "capital of the seven empires", is India’s second largest city (after Mumbai). It is a popular tourist destination thanks to the abundance of attractions and the interweaving of various cultures.
The city was built on the plains near the ford across the river Yamuna, on the route between Western, Central and Southeast Asia. Modern buildings, shopping centers, parks, entertainment for every taste, theaters, as well as magnificent ancient mosques and mausoleums are concentrated in the modern suburb of Delhi - New Delhi.
The further growth of tourists flow in both directions is inevitable after the start of Baku-Delhi direct flights.
It should be noted that the number of Indian tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased by 175 percent amounted to 40,000 people in 2018. As many as 14,173 Indian tourists traveled to Azerbaijan in 2017, 6012 in 2016, 5584 in 2015, and 4853 in 2014.
Indian tourists have been increasingly showing interest in Azerbaijan in recent years. In January-April 2019, the number of Indian tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased 1.8 percent compared to the same period of last year.
Both India and Azerbaijan started online visa issuance in 2017, which greatly helped in tourists' travel. Indian tourists are able to get online visas within three hours.
In late 2018, Azerbaijan Tourism Board opened its official representative office in Mumbai to introduce Azerbaijan's tourism opportunities and conduct propaganda. On January 16-18, 2019, Azerbaijani delegation headed by Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau attended SATTE 2019 international exhibition in New Delhi.
During the international tourism fair SATTE 2018 in Delhi, Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AZTA) and the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) signed a memorandum of cooperation.
Azerbaijani and Indian people have common cultural and historical values. Azerbaijan organizes special tours for Indian tourists to the Ateshgah Temple. One of the most popular and exotic sight of Azerbaijan, it is located 30 km from the center of Baku, on the outskirts of the village of Surakhani.
The territory where this temple stands is known for a unique natural phenomenon – natural gas comes out of the ground, and when it comes into contact with oxygen, a natural fire occurs. In its present form, the temple was built in the 17-18th centuries by a Sikh caste Hindu community living in Baku.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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