Open­ing doors

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel - – Ming Teoh

TOURISM Malaysia is taking steps to woo more tourists from Azer­bai­jan and the Cau­ca­sus re­gion to Malaysia.

At a re­cent Malaysia-Azer­bai­jan Tourism Net­work­ing ses­sion in Kuala Lumpur, a partnership me­moran­dum was signed be­tween the Azer­bai­jan Tourism As­sosi­ca­tion (AZTA) and Malaysian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta).

The two-year co­op­er­a­tion from 2019 will see both par­ties work­ing with lo­cal travel agents to de­velop spe­cial tour pack­ages. It will also pave the way for dis­cus­sions to es­tab­lish pos­si­ble flight con­nec­tions.

Last year, Malaysia recorded a to­tal of 1,035 tourist ar­rivals from Azer­bai­jan, an in­crease of 12.1% com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. The growth trend con­tin­ues this year with an 18.8% in­crease in ar­rivals dur­ing the first four months of 2018.

Al­though the ar­rival fig­ures are small, they are grow­ing and in­di­cate that the Azer­bai­ja­nis are in­ter­ested in Malaysia as a travel des­ti­na­tion. And, this is de­spite the ab­sence of direct flight con­nec­tions and lim­ited tourism pro­mo­tions.

This is not a one-sided thing though. Lo­cated at the cross­roads be­tween eastern europe and Western Asia, in the South Cau­ca­sus re­gion of eura­sia, Azer­bai­jan also has much to of­fer Malaysian tourists. The coun­try is neigh­boured by Rus­sia, Ge­or­gia, Ar­me­nia, Turkey, and Iran.

Of­ten re­ferred to as the “Land of Fire” and the “Pearl of the Cau­ca­sus”, Azer­bai­jan of­fers a unique his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage in­clud­ing over 7,500 ar­chi­tec­tural, ar­chae­oloci­cal, and his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments, nat­u­ral beauty, as well as fine cui­sine. Its cap­i­tal and largest city is Baku.

There are many in­ter­est­ing sights to check out in Azer­bai­jan. For na­ture and out­door en­thu­si­asts, visit Shahdag Na­tional Park in Pir­gulu, Gapi­jig Moun­tain or Gami­gaya, Duzdag Moun­tain and Bata­bat Lake.

Ar­chael­ogy en­thu­si­asts might also be in­trigued by the pet­ro­glyphs and cave draw­ings at Beyu­dash Moun­tain, Dubendi Cave, and Gami­gaya; and pre­his­toric land­marks in­clud­ing Azykh Cave shel­ter and Yeni Tur­can cart ruts. Cities and towns to ex­plore in­clude Baku Old City, Khi­nalug, Neft Dasları, and Ti­granakert of Art­sakh.

If his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture is your thing, there are many forts, cas­tles, palaces, mosques, churches, monas­ter­ies, mau­soleums and an­cient shrines to ex­plore too. Be­sides the old, there are also mod­ern struc­tures such as the Flame Tow­ers.

— MATTHEW HADLEY/Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Azer­ba­jian has breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral land­scapes.

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