Baku hosts OIC conference on promoting tourism [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
Baku hosted the 11th session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) under the topic "Role of Local Communities in Tourism Development", Azernews reports, citing the State Tourism Agency and Azertac.
The session focuses on advancing the Roadmap for the Development of Islamic Tourism in the OIC Member States in the wake of decline in international tourism flow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 160 delegates from 39 countries including tourism ministers of the OIC countries, heads of tourism associations, and other officials attended the conference.
Chairman of the State Tourism Agency Fuad Naghiyev read out the address of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to the conference participants.
The conference discussed the date and place of the next conference, as well as nominees for the ECO Tourism City Award for 2023-2024.
The participants in the meeting also adopted a draft document of the final resolution of the conference and the Baku Declaration.
In his remarks, Fuad Naghiyev noted that many tourists from OIC member-states visited Azerbaijan before the pandemic. However, the ongoing pandemic struck the tourism sector.
The chairman of the State Tourism Agency stressed the importance of joint proposals to restore tourism in Azerbaijan during the post-pandemic.
Fuad Naghiyev noted that the tourism industry in Azerbaijan has started to recover rapidly in the post-pandemic period, and the number of foreigners visiting Azerbaijan in the first five months of the year increased by 118 percent compared to last year.
He emphasized that Azerbaijan's tourism relations with OIC member-states are developing, the number of tourists from Islamic countries to Azerbaijan has reached 55 percent of the total number of tourists.
Fuad Nagiyev also informed the meeting participants about Azerbaijan's religious and cultural monuments destroyed as a result of the Armenian occupation.
Currently, the Azerbaijani state is carrying out large-scale work to restore Karabakh and other liberated territories.
The chairman of the State Tourism Agency invited the guests to Shusha to observe the restoration work carried out on Azerbaijan's liberated territories.
Bangladesh's Minister of Aviation and Tourism Shahjahan Kamal expressed confidence that Azerbaijan will soon become a major tourist destination.
The meeting continued with sessions.
The conference participants will pay a visit to Shusha on June 29.
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Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993