By Leman Mammadova
Due to the increasing interest of Russian and Indian tourists in Azerbaijan in recent years, Azerbaijan Tourism Board will strengthen ties with travel agencies operating in these two countries.
Tourism Board will hold a series of events in several Russian and Indian cities this year. Azerbaijan’s tourism potential will be presented in the Russian cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Kazan on August 27-29, in the Indian cities of Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai on September 9-13.
The events to be held in Russia will bring together 10 travel companies from Azerbaijan, including three hotels, and about 100 travel companies from Russia.
In India, 16 Azerbaijani and 100 Indian travel companies will participate in the events entitled "Azerbaijan-India Roadshow on Travel Trade".
As part of the presentations, Russian and Indian travel companies will be informed in detail about the tourism potential of Azerbaijan. Moreover, B2B (business to business) meetings will be held between the organizations specializing in various areas of tourism to discuss further bilateral cooperation.
Russia was the leader country 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).
As for India, 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, 6,012 in 2016, 5,584 in 2015, and 4,853 in 2014.
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.
Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has been operating regular and charter flights from Baku to Delhi, the capital of India since June 25, 2019. 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.
Azerbaijani tourism representations have been operating in Russia and India since the end of last year to introduce Azerbaijan's tourism opportunities.
Turning tourism into the country's second-largest development route and doubling the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan by 2023 is among the nation's strategic goals.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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