By Leman Mammadova
Promotion of Azerbaijan's tourism potential in foreign countries is aimed at increasing the flow of tourists into the country.
Travel companies of Azerbaijan, with the organization of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, will take part in the Pakistan Travel Mart exhibition to be held the Pakistani city of Karachi, on October 8-10.
The detailed information on the various directions of the tourism potential of Azerbaijan, attractions, hotels, national cuisine, and tourist routes will be presented within the framework of the exhibition, which will bring together 14 companies operating in the tourism sector of Azerbaijan.
Moreover, B2B (business to business) meetings will be held between the tourism companies to exchange views on bilateral cooperation.
Pakistan Travel Mart is a wide spectrum exhibition uniting all interested parties in the field of travel, tourism and hospitality. Since 2017, tourism companies from about 20 countries participate in the annual exhibition.
The number of Pakistani tourists visiting Azerbaijan amounted to 29,000 people in January-August 2019, which exceeds the figure for the same period last year by 12.9 percent.
The promotion of tourism potential of Azerbaijan, simplification of a visa regime for Pakistani citizens and the launch of the ASAN Visa system increased the number of Pakistani tourists visiting Azerbaijan. Thus, in 2018, 22,000 tourists from Pakistan visited Azerbaijan.
As many as 17,558 Pakistani tourists came in Azerbaijan in 2017, 3,998 in 2016, 2193 in 2015, and 1,817 tourists in 2014. The number of Pakistani tourists visiting Azerbaijan has increased by more than eight times over the past two years.
After the establishment of direct flights between the two countries, it is expected that the number of tourists will grow significantly.
Currently, there is no direct air service between the countries. The Turkish Airlines was allowed to operate flights from Istanbul to Lahore/Islamabad through Baku in order to establish an air link between Azerbaijan and Pakistan.
In 1993, Azerbaijan and Pakistan signed the Draft Air Services Agreement (ASA). In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries in 2009. According to the document, Pakistan could operate 7 weekly flights with a limit of 1,500 seats per week in each direction.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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