State Tourism Agency weighing the pros & cons of new proposals to attract tourists [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan's tourism recovery is gaining momentum and the State Tourism Agency is looking into new proposals to attract tourists.
Priority attention is being given to tourism development on Azerbaijan's territories liberated from Armenian occupation.
These and other initiatives to develop the country's tourism industry have been discussed at a conference on the project "Promotion of agritourism, agribusiness and food production through consulting services, creation and development of new value chains", Azernews reports.
Tourist complexes in liberated lands
Construction of tourist complexes is being carried out in Hadrut, Tugh, Dashalti, Sugovushan, and Shahbulag.
The State Tourism Agency is implementing a number of projects in Azerbaijan's liberated territories.
"We believe, in the next two years, the liberated territories will be open to world tourism, and we will be able to receive tourists there. Our initial predictions are that by 2025, about a million people are more likely to visit the territories, including both locals and foreign tourists. To do this, all the necessary preparatory work is currently underway," said Fuad Naghiyev.
Rural tourism in Azerbaijan
The chairman of the State Tourism Agency pointed out that the development of rural tourism, agritourism is a good opportunity to attract tourists to Azerbaijani districts as well as to increase employment and create new business entities focused on tourism.
“This process can have a positive impact on achieving sustainable rural incomes and reducing rural migration. This area also allows us to promote cultural heritage and local gastronomy. In turn, agritourism can stimulate the development of such areas as ecotourism and adventure tourism. Our main goal as a government agency is to inform farmers and other rural residents who want to provide tourism services in addition to agricultural activities about the use of this potential, to educate them. Relevant work has been carried out in this direction," Naghiyev added.
"The strategy for the socio-economic development of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2022-2026 provides for the creation of tourism infrastructure in villages with potential in this area for the balanced development of the capital and the country's districts and as a result, an increase in the annual income of family farms involved in the field of tourism services," he said.
In his remarks, the chairman of the State Tourism Agency also touched upon villages with high tourism to attract tourists.
Villages with high tourism potential have already been identified, a list of rural guest houses has been collected, and meetings have been held with their owners. All these measures will show positive results in the near future, he said.
"On the whole, agritourism will have a special share in eliminating the tourism seasonality, developing sustainable tourism, competitive agriculture and agribusiness, and at the same time in the socio-economic development of the regions.
In this regard, he stressed the economic and social importance of the project on "Promotion of agritourism, agribusiness and food production through consulting services, creation and development of new value chains".
Tourism recovery after the pandemic
Fuad Naghiyev also briefed conference participants about the pandemic's impact on the tourism sector.
"After the pandemic, the tourism sector has recovered by about 50 percent. We expect a full recovery within the next two years. We believe that we will approach the record holders of 2019," Naghiyev said.
"We have expanded our geography, we are opening new markets for tourism. We believe that tourism will recover and positive dynamics will continue," Naghiyev further added.
"Azerbaijan is mainly visited by foreign citizens from certain countries. For this year's winter season, we have conducted marketing work mostly in the CIS, Middle East, and European countries. The New Year holiday is coming. There are three winter tourism complexes in Azerbaijan, Shahdag, Tufandag, and Agbulag complex in Nakhchivan. We think that tourists will come to us from the newly opened markets," he concluded.
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