Steady in­crease recorded in tourist num­bers

Azer News - - Nation - By Amina Nazarli

Sum­mer is the great time to travel -- sunny weather, long days, and de­li­cious cui­sine has turned Azer­bai­jan into a pow­er­ful mag­net for many tourists.

The tourism in­dus­try of Azer­bai­jan is ready for the open­ing of the sum­mer sea­son, which will be­gin on June 15 and last un­til Septem­ber 15, ac­cord­ing to Cul­ture and Tourism Min­is­ter Abul­faz Garayev.

The min­is­ter stressed that this year more guests will come to Azer­bai­jan, fur­ther spec­i­fy­ing that this sum­mer the growth of tourist flow from the Arab coun­tries, Rus­sia and Iran is ex­pected.

“To­day we are pop­u­lar­iz­ing not only Baku, but also our re­gions. Azer­bai­jan`s re­gions are ready to wel­come tourists. The coun­try's tourism in­dus­try is ready for a new sea­son,” the min­is­ter said. Garayev fur­ther men­tioned that 174,000 tourists ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan last May.

“This May 211,000 tourists ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan, and this is an in­crease of about 30 per­cent. If in the last five months of 2016, some 768,000 tourists ar­rived in the coun­try, then this year their num­ber reached 956,000, which means an in­crease of 200,000 tourists. This growth is di­rectly re­lated to the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of the visa regime, and we have opened our doors to about 90 coun­tries,” he said.

Garayev also stressed that for the pe­riod of host­ing For­mula 1 Grand Prix of Azer­bai­jan (on June 23-25), rooms in the ma­jor ho­tel net­works of the coun­try can be filled by 95 per­cent, adding that for the ho­tels have al­ready re­ceived or­ders.

Talk­ing about hos­tels, which re­mains an ur­gent topic for the coun­try in con­nec­tion with a large tourist in­flux and lack of bud­get ac­com­mo­da­tion, Garayev said that the cor­re­spond­ing or­der was is­sued in this re­gard.

The min­is­ter stressed that many peo­ple, es­pe­cially young peo­ple, show in­ter­est in hos­tels. "Peo­ple want to set­tle in the cen­ter of the city, in the places with nor­mal con­di­tions," he said, adding that the min­istry is work­ing on the is­sue.

To­day, the coun­try can ac­com­mo­date about 40,000 tourists in its 535 ho­tels, which in­clude a se­ries of lux­ury ho­tels – Ex­cel­sior, Hil­ton, Four Sea­sons, Fair­mont, JW Mar­riott, Kempin­ski – as well as sev­eral bud­get ho­tels for cost-con­scious trav­el­ers.

As many as 146 ho­tels are lo­cated in Baku and Ab­sheron penin­sula. Baku is also home to sev­eral hos­tels, bud­get ho­tels de­signed for low-cost travel. Here, of course, tourists have to share a room with a few more peo­ple, but prices are much more af­ford­able. So far, 25 hos­tels and 92 apart­ments for tourists op­er­ate in Baku.

Bulks of the ho­tels lo­cated in the coun­try are 5-3 stars, which some­times cre­ates in­con­ve­nience for low­bud­get tourists. Prices for ac­com­mo­da­tion in the coun­try start from $15 and in­crease de­pend­ing on ho­tel brand and ameni­ties.

Azer­bai­jan is the land where all paths meet, fully re­fut­ing dis­prov­ing the old say­ing that, "West is West and East is East, and never the twain shall meet". Tourists see here a clash of East meets West and find a lot to en­joy. Sit­u­ated on the Great Silk Road, and di­vided par­tially be­tween East­ern Europe and West­ern Asia, Azer­bai­jan blended the best from both cul­tures, form­ing its own unique rich cul­ture, that’s why its peo­ple are nei­ther to­tally East­ern, nor to­tally West­ern.

The shores of the Caspian, the Mu­gan, Karabakh, the Mil plains, the moun­tains, forests, rivers, springs, lakes, sum­mer and win­ter recre­ation ar­eas, his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments, mod­ern mu­se­ums and sky­scrapers are head­line tourist at­trac­tions in the coun­try.

Those who pre­fer to go un­beaten path, to ex­plore less vis­ited places and check na­tional charisma will un­doubt­edly have an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence here.

The gov­ern­ment of Azer­bai­jan has made de­vel­op­ing tourism a pri­or­ity, while a num­ber of tourist fa­cil­i­ties have been built in the re­gions, and cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal re­serves have been set up or re­stored.

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