By Leman Mammadova
There has been growth in the tourist flow between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan in the past few years.
Thus, annual increase in tourist flow between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan over the past 3 years made up 25-30 percent, Uzbek Ambassador to Azerbaijan Sherzod Fayziyev told local media.
“Over the past two years, a steady increase has been observed in mutual tourist flow due to the active work on promotion of the tourism potential of Uzbekistan,” Farziyev noted.
In his words, the annual tourist flow from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan averaged about 5,000 people three years ago. “As for 2019, in the first half, the tourist flow to Uzbekistan amounted to 7,000 tourists. On average, tourist flow from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan for this period increased by 25-30 percent,” the ambassador added.
Fayziyev stressed that a similar situation has been observed in tourist flow from Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan. “Tourists from Uzbekistan visit sanatorium resorts, for example Naftalan located in western Azerbaijan.”
“Thanks to the increase in tourist flow, the parties increased the number of flights from Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan up to three times a week and from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan up to two times a week,” he added.
He further noted that the recent liberalization of the tourism market In Uzbekistan also contributed to the growth of trade with Azerbaijan. “Over the past three years, the volume of trade with Azerbaijan increased annually by 50 percent. According to the statistical data of Uzbekistan, there is trade growth by 45 percent in the first half of 2019, while according to the Azerbaijan’s statistics for the same period - more than 70 percent.”
Fayziev pointed out that a similar situation on mutual trade between Baku and Tashkent has been observed both in 2018 and prior to 2018. “Liberalization in Uzbekistan also led to investment attractiveness of the country. Today we observe the investment activity of Azerbaijani capital, their interest in our market. We have good potential for investment from Azerbaijani investors.”
Tourism Associations of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in 2017, which envisages various projects between the two countries to promote tourism.
Early this year, the Uzbek Embassy in Azerbaijan and MyTravel tourism agency signed a tourism work plan.The document envisages the provision by the embassy of information assistance to the campaign to increase the tourist flow from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan.
Recently, the Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTA) and the Uzbek Tourism Training Center have reached an agreement to jointly prepare tourist guides with international status.
Azerbaijan enjoys a great potential for the development of tourism. Nature, climate, historical monuments, cuisine, rich culture of the people and other factors lay the foundation for the development of many areas of tourism. There are wide opportunities for Azerbaijan to be recognized as a tourist destination in the world.
Last year, as many as 2,849,600 tourists from 196 countries visited Azerbaijan. This constituted a 5.7 percent increase compared to 2017.
Uzbekistan is located in the "heart" of Central Asia and has tremendous opportunities in the field of tourism. The country has 7,300 cultural heritage sites, which is more than 90 percent of all historical monuments in the region. More than 500 of them are included in tourist routes.
The implementation of a large number of activities contributed to a sharp increase in the attractiveness of Uzbekistan for tourists. If in 2017, as many as 2.6 million tourists entered Uzbekistan, in 2018 their total number increased to 5.3 million (a 99 percent increase). By 2025, it is expected that the number of tourists will increase to 9 million.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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