By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan Ecotourism Association has been established to develop ecotourism and environmental culture in the country, local media reported referring to the association.
The association will encourage and promote tourism activities, support the creation of new areas of ecotourism in the country including the outdoor tourism, promotion of healthy and ecological food, agritourism, rural tourism, eco-hotels and farms. It will also work to popularize Azerbaijan’s ecotourism in the international arena.
Ecotourism is a relatively new phenomenon in global tourism activities. It is an environmental tourism oriented to nature preservation. It is based on nature objects - forests, forest massifs, reserves, sanctuaries and national parks.
Being rich in natural resources, resort areas, national parks and reserves with magnificent landscapes, Azerbaijan has untapped potential for the development of ecotourism. Earlier, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources announced that it will develop a national program for the development of ecotourism.
Currently, Azerbaijan has ten national parks, 11 state natural parks and 24 state nature reserves. 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.
In April 2019, the Ministry of Ecology together with Czech specialists started developing hiking trails in the country. Hiking trails determine the consistent movement of tourists through the territory of historical and natural monuments. This will allow creating ecotourism in the country in accordance with modern standards.
Along with ecotourism, Azerbaijan provides tourists with the opportunities for sightseeing, rural, environmental, cultural, health, social, commercial, sport, and other kinds of tourism.
In 2019, some 3.17 million tourists visited Azerbaijan, which is 11.4 percent more compared to the same period of 2018.
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