Azerbaijan set to improve tourism industry in coming years [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan Tourism Summit 2022 has started its work at the Baku Congress Center, Azernews reports.
Within the summit, members of the tourism industry, state, and private sector representatives discuss development trends in tourism.
In his speech, chairman of the State Tourism Agency Fuad Nagiyev highlighted the latest achievements in the tourism sector.
He underlined that the State Tourism Agency intends to increase the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan to 4 million in 2026.
The State Tourism Agency has set up goals aimed at the improvement of Azerbaijan's tourism industry within the "2022-2026 Socio-Economic Development Strategy of the Republic of Azerbaijan".
The agency aims to increase GDP production in the tourist accommodation and public catering sector by 1.5 times compared to 2019 and to achieve an average annual growth of 20 percent in the tourism sector.
At the same time, the State Tourism Agency seeks to improve internal tourism by increasing the number of domestic tourists to 6 million.
Meanwhile, more than 1,458,000 visits to Azerbaijan were registered, which means a 2.1 times increase compared to the figures of 2021.
"Under the current conditions, our forecast from the beginning of the year came true and the industry was able to recover by 50 percent this year. Our main goal in holding the summit is to bring tourism industry subjects together, to inform them about our work and future plans," said Nagiyev.
The chairman of the State Tourism Agency also mentioned the multi-directional measures to study, realize and promote the tourism potential of Azerbaijan's liberated territories.
He stressed that tourism will be one of the leading areas to ensure the livelihood of people in Karabakh and East Zangezur.
"One of the most sacred tasks before us is the development of Karabakh as a tourist destination. We will ensure the livelihood of our people in the lands that our heroic army returned to us and tourism will be one of the leading areas in this direction. Several projects in this direction have already been implemented," Fuad Nagiyev added.
"In March, a groundbreaking ceremony of the tourism complex was held in Sugovushan with the participation of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. At the same time, the primary recreation infrastructure for tourism was built around the historical Shahbulag fortress in Agdam. The tourism opportunities of Shusha city and Dashalti, Fuzuli, Khojavand, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Kalbajar were evaluated and integrated into relevant development strategies and action plans. In the near future, we are about to finalize our work for the organization of tourism trips to Shusha. Now our citizens will be able to make tourism trips to Shusha as well as to other places," he added.
In addition, regional tourism councils will be established for the further improvement of the management framework of the tourism sector.
Moreover, Tourist Call-Information Center (848) will provide services in Azerbaijani, Russian and English language.
Fuad Nagiyev also informed the summit participants about work done by the State Tourism Agency to develop the country's tourism, legal and institutional regulations of the tourism sector in the new "On Tourism" law as well as preservation and protection of cultural heritage.
"New law should be considered as an important step in the direction of legal and institutional regulation of the tourism sector. We believe that after the working mechanisms of the points mentioned in the law are fully ready, industry participants will observe positive changes and development," said Nagiyev.
It is also planned to apply the star requirement for hotels, and the civil liability insurance mechanism for tourism companies.
Every hotel operating in Azerbaijan must obtain a star certificate within six months from the date of its operation.
Furthermore, the Unified Database on Tourism was presented as part of the summit. The database reflects more than 50 indicators in four separate categories on a periodic basis.
The summit continued with panel discussions on the topics "State policy and market regulation in the tourism sector: Main directions and approaches in Azerbaijan", "Tourism, cultural heritage and creative industry: New challenges", "Marketing activity in the main target markets" and "Current situation and plans in the tourism industry".
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