By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Representatives of Indian travel companies have arrived in Azerbaijan to familiarize themselves with the tourist opportunities in Baku and the country's regions, Azerbaijan Tourism Board said in the message.
During the visit, a meeting was held between representatives of 50 Azerbaijani travel agencies and the delegation from India. At the meeting, tour operators assessed the possibilities of cooperation and the development of bilateral relations.
Meanwhile, representatives of Moscow travel agencies involved in the business tourism have also visited Azerbaijan. The purpose of the visit of the Russian delegation was to get familiar with the potential of business tourism in the regions of Azerbaijan.
The guests held a meeting with representatives of Azerbaijani companies engaged in the same field of tourism.
It is noteworthy that cooperation in tourism sphere between Azerbaijan and India is improving and tourist flow between Azerbaijan and India is rapidly growing.
As for statistics, the number of Indian tourists visiting Azerbaijan 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 for Azerbaijan 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 Board attended SATTE 2019 international exhibition in New Delhi.
Moreover, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) launched regular and charter flights from Baku to Delhi, the capital of India on June 25.
Flights are 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.
As for Russia, the country was the leader in the tourism market of Azerbaijan in 2018. Thus, as many as 2,849,600 tourists from 196 countries arrived in Azerbaijan during the year and the Russians made up the largest share of the tourists - 30.9 percent (about 900,000).
It is also important to note that as the summer season has started, the flow of tourists between Russia and Azerbaijan is growing. In order to handle with the increasing number of visitors, airlines open new flights to popular destinations.
Baku-Yekaterinburg and Baku-Astrakhan are among the newly launched flights.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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