By Rasana Gasimova
The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization has included Azerbaijan in its top-20 fastest-growing travel destinations ranking.
The country secured the 18th place in the ranking with an 11.4-percent-increase in its tourism sector, local media reported referring to the “UNWTO World Tourism Barometer and Statistical Annex, January 2020” report.
Myanmar topped the list, with an increase of 40,2 percent in its tourism sector. The country is followed by Puerto Rico (31.2 percent) and Iran (27.9 percent).
Uzbekistan, Montenegro, Egypt, Vietnam, the Philippines, Maldives and the Bahamas also entered the top ten of the ranking.
Overall, the organisation stated that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide grew by four percent to reach 1.5 billion in 2019.
All regions enjoyed an increase in arrivals. The Middle East showed an 8 percent growth, followed by Asia and the Pacific (5 percent). International arrivals in Europe and Africa (4 percent growth both) increased in line with the world average, while the Americas saw growth of 2 percent.
Azerbaijan provides tourists with the wide range of tourism opportunities, including excursions and sightseeing, rural, health, environmental, cultural, social, commercial, sport, and other kinds of tourism.
The country has received numerous international awards in the field of tourism. This year alone, Azerbaijan won the National Geographic Traveler Awards 2019 in the best excursion destination category during a competition held in Moscow; Lufthansa, the leading German carrier and the second largest airline in Europe, declared Baku the “City of the Month”; Azerbaijan’s Naftalan resort, which offers crude oil baths, is among top five recreation spots among the CIS countries for Russian tourists in Autumn 2019.
For the first time, Azerbaijan is participating in the Global Village international Fair held in Dubai in October 2019-April 2020.
The tourist flow to Azerbaijan increased by 11.4 percent year-on-year in 2019 to reach 3.17 million people.
The government supports the development of tourism as part of the non-oil policy. It is planned to provide tax benefits to those providing travel services in tourism sector in order to stimulate the further development of this sphere.
Azerbaijan is also developing a program of investments in the tourism sector. This year, the country will host the largest tourism event in the region - Travel Business Azerbaijan 2020.
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