By Rasana Gasimova
The number of visitors to Azerbaijan’s national parks in 2019 increased by around 24,000 people compared to 2018, Arzu Samadova, Chief Advisor at the Department of Protection of Biological Diversity & Development of Specially Protected Nature Areas of the Ministry of Ecology and National Resources has told local media.
A total of 104,276 tourists visited Azerbaijan’s national parks this year. Of these, 93 804 people were locals, and the remaining 10 472 people were foreigners.
Samadova said that this trend is a result of the work carried out to inform people, as well as organization of interesting and vibrant events in national parks intended by people from a variety of age groups.
Azerbaijan is rich with natural resources, ancient history and magnificent landscapes. The country attracts tourists with its modern architecture, resort areas, national parks, museums, historical monuments.
National parks are favorable natural areas for the development of ecotourism in the country. As a relatively new phenomenon in global tourism activities, ecotourism is an environmental tourism oriented to nature preservation.
Currently, Azerbaijan has ten national parks, 11 state natural parks and 24 state nature reserves.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources informed that it plans develop a program for the development of the country's national parks. The program will be aimed at increasing the number of visitors to national parks, and defining the gaps in this area.
For about two years, Ministry of Ecology jointly with The Regional Environmental Center Azerbaijan Representative Office carried out work on creating eco-corridors in the Shahdag National Park.
Jointly with the communities, an ecotourism program was prepared for the Shahdag National Park. This program includes development of ecotrails. The main function of the project is creation of infrastructure. Implementation of this project in other national parks also depends on the success of work in the Shahdag National Park.
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