By Rasana Gasimova
Travel companies and associations should be closely involved in the process of preparing legislative acts and incentive mechanisms in the tourism sector, Chairman of the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Orkhan Mammadov has said, Trend reported.
Speaking at the forum titled “Tourism business sector: current status and perspectives", Mammadov noted that close cooperation between government agencies and civil society institutions is necessary for the development of entrepreneurship, including the tourism sector, adding that the forum, organized by the public council under the Agency, is a convenient platform for public-private partnerships.
He noted that the SMEs Development Agency wants entrepreneurs involved in the tourism business to make their offers.
“Entrepreneurs can get tax benefits using the investment encouraging mechanism in the tourism projects implementation. From this point of view, we invite SMEs to actively invest in this area. Besides, the support mechanism for domestic market research can be used in the tourism business sector,” Mammadov concluded.
The forum widely discussed issues of attracting investments by private tourism companies, enterprise licensing, professional personnel development and other aspects of the tourism development in Azerbaijan.
Fuad Nagiyev, the Chairman of Azerbaijan's State Tourism Agency, spoke about innovations and projects in the tourism sector.
Nahid Bagirov, the Chairman of Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTA) reported on measures of state support for tourism’s development.
Speaking at the forum, Kanan Gasimov, the head of the State Tourism Agency office said that tourism is one of those rare areas where companies require licensing themselves.
Gasimov touched upon cases when companies contact the State Tourism Agency with complaints about companies and individuals providing unprofessional travel services, without taking any responsibility and without providing guarantees, thereby harming the image of the tourism industry in the country.
“One of the most important issues raised at the forum is also the issue of licensing tourism companies. As a state structure, we put this issue on the agenda. Since 2015, licenses in the field of tourism activities have been canceled in Azerbaijan in order to ensure greater freedom for travel companies and the development of competition, due to the urgent need to develop and form this sector,” he said.
Gasimov noted that the state is seriously working in this direction and it is planned to create a state supervision mechanism that satisfies the interests of all parties.
Gasimov also raised the issue of the development and control of the guides, saying that standardization process is planned in the near future. The issue of regulating the guide activities is currently being discussed. He added that being a person who directly introduces visitors to the country, its culture and history, the guide must meet the highest requirements.
Kanan Gasimov also said that ASAN Viza terminals will open on the Azerbaijan-Georgia borders and borders with other countries. ASAN Viza terminals will simplify obtaining visas for tourists arriving in Azerbaijan and minimize the risk of delays at the border or problems with entering the country.
Touching upon the issue of attracting investments in the tourism sector of the regions, Gasimov noted that, together with the Ministry of Economy, work is underway in this direction to determine the necessary volumes of investment.
One of the most important topics on the forum's agenda was the creation of a development fund for the private tourism sector.
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