Saudi Ara­bia eyes to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion in in­vest­ment & tourism

Azer News - - Nation - By Le­man Mam­madova

In re­cent years, trade and tourism re­la­tions of Azer­bai­jan with Gulf coun­tries are grow­ing rapidly.

The Saudi Travel and Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion is de­vel­op­ing a "road map" to pro­vide as­sis­tance in at­tract­ing Arab tourists to Azer­bai­jan, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Azer­bai­jan-Arab Coun­tries' Co­op­er­a­tion (AACC) Yalchin Aliyev told Trend on Jan­uary 10.

He said that the "road map" is de­signed for five years. All as­pects of the co­op­er­a­tion of the sides will be co­or­di­nated with the State Tourism Agency of Azer­bai­jan.

Aliyev added that Saudi Ara­bia will also at­tract tourists to Azer­bai­jan, and will en­sure an an­nual in­crease in in­vest­ment in the coun­try at a level of at least five per­cent.

Speak­ing about plans to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion with Arab coun­tries he em­pha­sized that vis­its of Azer­bai­jani del­e­ga­tions to Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Ara­bia and Jor­dan are planned this year.

“Last year, del­e­ga­tions from Jor­dan, Iraq, the United Arab Emi­rates and Qatar vis­ited Azer­bai­jan. Sim­i­lar meet­ings will be held this year. I be­lieve that the ex­act dates of vis­its will be de­ter­mined be­fore the end of Jan­uary. In ad­di­tion, it is planned to hold a large-scale event in Baku - the first Azer­bai­jani-Arab in­vest­ment fo­rum. This will be dis­cussed soon in Beirut with the Union of Arab Cham­bers,” added Aliyev.

So far, Saudi Ara­bia's state-owned and pri­vate com­pa­nies in­vested about $ 370 mil­lion in Azer­bai­jan's econ­omy.

Ex­pan­sion of co­op­er­a­tion with Saudi Ara­bia in the spheres of con­struc­tion, in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy, in­clud­ing re­new­ables, agri­cul­ture and tourism is of great im­por­tance for Azer­bai­jan.

In De­cem­ber 2018, the del­e­ga­tion of Azer­bai­jani en­trepreneurs, in­clud­ing 29 com­pa­nies en­gaged in the pro­duc­tion of build­ing ma­te­ri­als, tex­tiles, canned prod­ucts, juices, as well as travel agen­cies, vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia to es­tab­lish co­op­er­a­tion. Saudi Ara­bia has shown great in­ter­est in the Azer­bai­jani prod­ucts, es­pe­cially in food and agri­cul­tural ones.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Cus­toms Com­mit­tee of Azer­bai­jan, the trade turnover with Saudi Ara­bia for eleven months of 2018 amounted to $ 17.7 mil­lion.

Azer­bai­jan is among the fastest­grow­ing des­ti­na­tions for tourists.

Azer­bai­jan is among the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in the field of tourism, oc­cu­py­ing the 39th place among 148 coun­tries in terms of global com­pet­i­tive­ness in tourism.

The beau­ti­ful na­ture of Azer­bai­jan, hos­pi­tal­ity of its peo­ple, the coun­try's cap­i­tal with its su­per modern and an­cient build­ings draws the at­ten­tion of all tourists vis­it­ing this South Cau­casian coun­try.

Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of visa regime also plays a ma­jor role in the de­vel­op­ment of tourism in Azer­bai­jan.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Statis­tics Com­mit­tee of Azer­bai­jan, in Jan­uaryNovem­ber 2018, 2.63 mil­lion for­eign­ers and state­less per­sons from 195 coun­tries ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan, and Saudi cit­i­zens ac­counted for about 2.7 per­cent of those ar­riv­ing in the coun­try, while Rus­sia ac­counted for the 31.1 per­cent of the ar­rivals, Ge­or­gia - 20.9 per­cent, Turkey - 10.1 per­cent, Iran 8.6 per­cent, the UAE - 3.1 per­cent.

Dur­ing the re­ported pe­riod, the great­est in­crease among those who ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan was ob­served among the cit­i­zens of the Gulf coun­tries

Com­pared to the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year, the num­ber of Saudi cit­i­zens who ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan in­creased by 2.2 times, Bahraini cit­i­zens - 2.1 times, Kuwaiti cit­i­zens 1.9 times, Qataris - 1.6 times, Iraqis 10.4 per­cent and Omani cit­i­zens by 8.5 per­cent.

Al­most every fifth tourist, who ar­rived in Azer­bai­jan from the Gulf re­gion, was a cit­i­zen of these coun­tries.

Re­cently, an agree­ment was signed to launch of­fi­cial for­eign tourism of­fices of Azer­bai­jan in six for­eign coun­tries, one of which will be es­tab­lished in Riyad of Saudi Ara­bia (Gulf Reps Ltd). Tourism of­fices aim to in­tro­duce Azer­bai­jan's tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties, con­duct pro­pa­ganda and cam­paign­ing.

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