By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan citizens began to travel more and this is reflected in the statistics of the first half of 2019. As this period is not regarded as the peak tourist season, the figures mostly include business and other kinds of trips.
From January to June 2019, 2.54 million Azerbaijani citizens visited foreign countries which showed growth by 25.8 percent compared to the same period last year, a source in the State Statistics Committee told Trend.
Iran became the most popular destination for Azerbaijani tourists. Some 39.1 percent of the nationals travelled there. The second most visited country, 27.1 percent, is Georgia.
The recent launch of passenger transportation along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) transport corridor and affordable prices gave a new impetus to the development of tourism between Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Some 18.1 percent of Azerbaijanis travelled to Russia. Moscow and Saint Petersburg remained the most popular Russian cities among Azerbaijani tourists.
In addition to the two cities, Azerbaijanis most often travelled to Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Krasnodar.
Additionally, Azerbaijani tourists began to choose the Russian city of Zheleznovodsk more often for rest and treatment.
Although Turkey is a pretty attractive tourism destination for vast of Azerbaijani people, proportion of Azerbaijanis’ trips there accounts for just 10.2 percent. Relatively smaller share of Turkey can be explained by the fact that Azerbaijani tourists often travel to Turkey for vacation in July and August.
The rest 5.5 percent accounted for visits to other countries. In general, 65.7 percent of travelers were men, and 34.3 percent – women.
During the first half of the year, the number of Azerbaijani citizens visiting Iran increased by 71.4 percent, Georgia - by 11.3 percent, and Turkey - by 1.4 percent.
Some 83.4 percent of Azerbaijani citizens who visited foreign countries used rail and road transport, 15.8 percent used air transport and 0.8 percent – water transport.
As for tourist inflow, 1.4 million tourists visited Azerbaijan in the first half of 2019. According to the State Statistical Committee, the flow of tourists to Azerbaijan increased by 6.5 percent compared to the same period last year.
As for the origin countries, 29.4 percent of tourists came from Russia, 24.3 percent - Georgia, 10.5 percent - Turkey, 7.5 percent - Iran, 2.6 percent – the UAE, and 2.4 percent - Saudi Arabia.
The number of tourists arriving in Azerbaijan from EU countries increased by 24.3 percent to 66,500 people in January-June 2019, while of those from CIS countries - by 5 percent to 502,500.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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