By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly well-known tourist destination in the world and the country’s Tourism Board is making efforts to increase the flow of tourists into Azerbaijan.
Tourism Board will organize a series of events in China on September 16-22. Azerbaijan's tourism potential will be presented in the country’s major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
About 12 Azerbaijani and 100 Chinese travel companies will participate in the events entitled "Azerbaijan-China Roadshow on Travel Trade".
Moreover, B2B (business to business) meetings will be held between the organizations specializing in various areas of tourism to discuss further bilateral cooperation.
During the bilateral meetings, the sides will assess the possibilities of cooperation and exchange views on the prospects for further relations.
It’s expected that the number of Chinese tourists in Azerbaijan may reach 200,000 people within the next few years.
Recently, Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding with the leading Chinese travel company ETI-Holidays (Beijing Huayuan International Travel Co., LTD) that envisages increasing the flow of Chinese tourists to Azerbaijan via the Beijing-Baku flight and further to other destinations in order to increase Baku’s transit capacity.
At present, AZAL carries out Baku-Beijing-Baku direct regular flights. It is also planned to launch flights from Baku to other Chinese cities.
The direct flights between Azerbaijan and China as well as the Azerbaijani government's simplifying visa regime for Chinese tourists are of great importance for developing relations between the two countries in the field of tourism.
Since 2018, the official tourism representative office operating in China is actively working to introduce Azerbaijan's tourism potential in major Chinese cities.
Azerbaijan Tourism Board considers the Chinese market to be one of the priorities for attracting tourists. Since 2017, the tourism potential of Azerbaijan has been more actively promoted in this country.
In addition, Azerbaijan and Chinese tourism companies signed a cooperation agreement in April 2018. In first period, the companies specializing in health tourism are eager to attract 2,000 more tourists per year on the basis of this agreement.
Chinese experts say that about 1 million Chinese patients travel abroad every year for health tourism. They consider that their citizens will mostly like Azerbaijan’s Naftalan.
Recently, Azerbaijan and China signed a memorandum of understanding on simplifying group visits of Chinese tourists to Azerbaijan.
In January-June 2019, Azerbaijan was visited by 1.4 million foreign tourists, which recorded 86,000 tourists or 6.5 percent growth compared to the same period of 2018. As for Asian tourists, 54,100 tourists from Central Asia visited Azerbaijan (an increase of 38 percent).
Azerbaijan’s main tourist markets of South Asia are India (27,000 tourists, increase of 80.2 percent) and Pakistan (19,000 tourists, increase of 24.4 percent), while the main tourist markets of Central Asia are Kazakhstan (20,000 tourists, with growth by 15.1 percent) and Turkmenistan (21,000 tourists, with an increase of 85 percent).
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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