By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan will reach three million by the end of 2019, the head of Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau, Florian Sengstschmid, said during the Azerbaijan Tourism Summit 2019 held in Baku recently.
The event had been organized by the State Tourism Agency and held in Baku Congress Center, which is the largest indoor multifunctional complex in the South Caucasus.
Tourist flow to Azerbaijan amounted to 2,682,400 million people in January-October 2019, which is 10.9 percent more compared to the same period in 2018.
Last year, 2,844,849 foreign tourists visited Azerbaijan. Thus, 2019 will mark over 7-percent-growth in tourism.
Addressing the forum, Chairman of Azerbaijan's State Tourism Agency Fuad Nagiyev noted that certain reforms in tourism will be carried out in 2020.
“Our job is not only to attract tourists. It is important that tourists are satisfied with their trips and they want to visit the country again. Obviously, it is impossible to solve all problems in a short period of time. We need to regularly carry out work jointly with the public, the representatives of the tourism sector and relevant structures,” Naghiyev said.
Nagiyev previously stated that Azerbaijan aims to increase tourist flow to 4-4.5 million people by 2020.
Head of the Administration of the State Tourism Agency Kanan Gasimov said that the work on a very broad program is underway for issuing visas and optimizing border procedures related to the formation of an institutional tourism sector.
As he added, the procedure for coordinating this program with the relevant state bodies is nearing completion.
“The issuance of visas and the optimization of border-transition procedures are the main goals,” Gasimov said. “Of course, the major work has been done to simplify the visa regime. Our goal is that more tourists visit our country. The State Tourism Agency is greatly interested in the visa procedure to be more simplified and travel opportunities to be more accessible.”
Over 1,500 participants, including representatives of the tourism industry, government and the diplomatic corps accredited in Azerbaijan attended the summit.
During the event, the leading tourism industry participants offered solutions for improving travel conditions for local and foreign tourists, discussing innovations and obstacles in the area.
Azerbaijan has potential in many areas of tourism, including rural, health, environmental, cultural, social, commercial, sport, etc.
Moreover, recent simplification of the visa regime with a number of countries plays a major role in the development of tourism in Azerbaijan.
With the organizational support of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Azerbaijani tourism companies participate in a variety of exhibitions, where they represent tourism opportunities of the country. This also contributes to the increase in the number of tourists visiting the country.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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