By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan, a country hoping to become a main tourist attraction in the region, is planning to offer low-cost travel packages to visitors from certain countries arriving to the Land of Fire.
Boosting tourism by creating favorable conditions for foreign tourists is of great importance today for the country that is switching from oil production to the development of non-oil industries.
A joint working group set up by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) met recently to draw up plans to more effectively promote inbound tourism and attract more tourists next year.
The meeting discussed a number of issues, and an agreement was reached for joint activities in 2016.
The two sides discussed the preparation of low-cost travel packages for citizens of countries where Azerbaijan Airlines has direct flights, taking into account the specific qualities of these countries. The packages include holidays and vacations in the said countries.
The tourism ministry and AZAL also agreed to take a common national stand in tourism exhibitions and share the use of structures operating in a number of foreign countries.
They are set to sign a document implementing the 2016 plan.
Developing budget tourism plays a decisive role in the country’s plan on turning into the tourist attraction. Toward this direction, the country also aims to increase the number of budget hotels and hostels. Currently, the country can accommodate more than 35,000 tourists in its 530 hotels.
Low-cost travel packages for countries in the region are seen to increase the tourist flow, as Azerbaijan seems especially attractive to its neighboring countries.
Azerbaijan and Baku, in particular, have many interesting sites for both Eastern and Western tourists as the country is a mix of two cultures.
Over one million tourists visited Azerbaijan in the first eight months of this year, while over 2 million tourists came to Azerbaijan last year, which resulted in about one billion manat (over $950,000 million) in revenue from tourism.
Azerbaijan hosts a series of luxury hotels – Jumeirah, Excelsior, Hilton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, JW Marriott, Kempinski – as well as many budget hotels for cost-conscious travelers. Prices for accommodation in the country start from $15 and increase depending on the hotel class and amenities provided.
The prices have already been reduced at a number of tourist facilities in the country recently.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’ staff journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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