The trend of price reduction at Azerbaijan's tourism facilities will continue, Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev said on September 16.
According to Garayev, prices at the local tourism facilities were reduced by 20 percent in 2012, but in some facilities they remain high.
"It should be taken into account that at present, most of the hotels built and commissioned in Azerbaijan are luxury hotels, and in any case the cost of their services should be high. The head of state has determined a guideline to construct three-star hotels in the country, to use pricing policies, to meet the needs of the middle class. Moreover, after all, the number of hotels and the competition among them will undoubtedly create the conditions for lowering the cost of these services," he said.
The results of the last six months show that the number of foreign tourists visiting Azerbaijan has increased by more than 10 percent, Garayev said.
"At the same time, our monitoring has shown that services rendered during the summer season are unsatisfactory in a number of hotels. During this month a decision will most likely be made to revoke the licenses of these hotels," he said.
Moreover, Garayev said, the operation of hotels which have not yet prepared the documents for obtaining licenses will be limited.
After a new law on tourism is passed, new rules on granting licenses will be applied, he said.
"Drafting of the law on tourism is almost complete, and international organizations have already made their remarks regarding it. We have developed a major project on their basis. In other words, the legal framework has already been improved, and a document will be adopted based on international experience. I think that as a result, the rules of obtaining the licenses will be changed, which includes special attention to be paid to increasing the number of relevant experts in tourism facilities and hotels," Garayev said.
There is currently an influx of tourists to Azerbaijan. The number of foreign nationals who visited Azerbaijan in the first half of 2013 increased by 9.9 percent compared to the same period of 2012 and amounted to 1,196,953. Up to 95 percent of the tourists come to Azerbaijan with the aid of travel agencies.
Most of the foreigners are citizens of Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and European countries.
The number of hotels in Azerbaijan has been on the rise. However, only 260 of the 514 operating hotels have obtained licenses. Some 221 licensed travel agencies operate in the country.