Ecotourism. Azerbaijan can turn into sustainable travel destination
By Laman Ismayilova
The number of visitors to ecotourism destinations have gained global momentum.
More and more people are choosing ecotourism, a sphere of tourism which attempts to minimize its impact upon the environment.
With its awe-inspiring natural wonders, Azerbaijan continues to attract tourisms from all over the world.
The country has excellent conditions for ecotourism, known as one of the most sought-after travel style of the century.
Known for its array of rainforests, wildlife, Azerbaijan has all chances to turn into one of the biggest destinations for sustainable travel.
New ecotourism routes
New ecotourism routes are being created in Azerbaijan. Nearly 15 mountain hiking trails have been already laid for tourists.
The State Tourism Agency also focuses on creating all conditions for ecotourism in Guba, Gusar, Sheki, Gakh, Zagatala and other regions.
Moreover, the Agency plans to extend the route from Zagatala to Balakan and connect it with Georgia.
Role of national parks
Azerbaijan is home to numerous national parks, which contribute to ecotourism.
The country’s national parks and reserves are home to a wide variety of natural wonders and wildlife.
Total protected areas amount to 10.3 percent of Azerbaijan’s land mass, including 3.7 percent of national parks.
More than 50 bird and animal species are encountered in Absheron National Park.
Gazelle, jackal, fox, rabbit, badger, Caspian seal, birds such as silver gull, wheezing swan, grey and red-headed black, white-eyed black ducks, big white bittern, sandpiper, bald-coot and other migrant birds have inhabited here.
Anyone visiting the Land of Fire should enjoy the magnificent views of lake at Goygol National Park.
The lake gets its name from its deep blue-colored water. It was formed in 1939 as a result of the earthquake that occurred in Ganja. Kapaz mountain tumbled down, blocked up the Aghsuchay river.
The water in the lake is always cold even in August and does not rise above +17 ˚C.
Over 423 types of trees, shrubs and medicinal plants grow here. In the surrounding forests you can encounter wolves, foxes, deer, jackals, bears, lynx and many other animals. The lake area is ideal for walking, traveling, and family picnics. Recreation on the shore of the fresh lake is the best decision on hot days.
Hirkan National Park ensures the protection of flora and fauna listed in the Azerbaijan Red Data Book.
The park is rich in plant species. The vegetation cover is mainly represented by trees and shrubs that form forests here.
Altiagach National Park is mostly covered by temperate deciduous broadleaved forests.
The national park is home to the rare East Caucasian tur (Capra cylindricornis), a mountain dwelling goat antelope found only in the eastern half of the Caucasus Mountains. Other large mammals found here are the lynx (Lynx lynx), brown bear (Ursus arctos), wild boar (Sus scrofa), wolf (Canis lupus), golden jackal (Canis aureus), jungle cat (Felis chaus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), badger (Meles meles), and otter (Lutra lutra), etc.
Shirvan National Park focuses on protection of goitered gazelles listed in the Azerbaijan Red Data Book.
Gazelle is considered a lesser spread species among mammals. In this regard it exists mostly in Azerbaijan, Middle and Central Asia. The territory of Azerbaijan is considered the main existence area of the gazelles.
Meanwhile, there are over 10 state natural parks in Azerbaijan that preserve and protect the fauna, flora and their ecosystems.
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