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Number of tourists may exceed 4 million in 2020

21 November 2017 [16:28] - TODAY.AZ

By  Trend


By Aygul Salmanova

Which country can boast with a blend of eastern and western cultures forming an exceptional society, which is neither eastern nor western? Where can you enjoy the romantic Maiden Tower in the center of Baku, dazzling Palace of Sheki Khans from Venetian glass, as well as the cradle of human civilization -- Gobustan with thousands of incredible petroglyphs? Undoubtedly, in Azerbaijan!

Today tourism is developing with high speed in Azerbaijan, with a contribution of 4.5 percent to the national GDP. The country witnesses more than 2 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and thousands of domestic tourism visits.

This year saw a 20 percent increase in the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan as compared to last year.

High growth rate was recorded in the comparative figures. "There was an increase of 20 percent in the number of tourists in 2017 as compared to 12 percent a year ago," Kenan Guluzade, spokesman of the National Bureau of Tourism Promotion told reporters.

Guluzade noted that President Ilham Aliyev greatly supports the development of tourism and the infrastructure in the country has significantly improved.

"According to the plan, the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan in 2020 is expected to be 4.5 million, but as specified by the rate of growth in the number of tourists we can predict that this figure will be achieved more quickly. There is a widening in the geography of tourists coming to Azerbaijan and an increase in the number of tourists coming to the country from all directions is observed," he said.

Guluzade added that within the framework of international events held in Azerbaijan, tourism opportunities of the country are being promoted. It is planned to hold exhibitions abroad in the following year.

The spokesman believes in the next 15 years the income from tourism sector of the country will be the same from the profit of the hydrocarbon field.

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.

Now it is proposed to create two more streets in Baku, similar to Nizami Street, known as Torgovaya by closing the traffic on two streets leading from the Central Department Store to "Beshmertebe" and turn them into pedestrian streets like Torgovaya, said Guluzade.

"In this regard, the relevant proposals have been submitted, but it is still difficult to say what decision will be made," Guluzade said.

He added that there are also proposals to create an academy for guides.

"Due to the fact that many guides do not know the history and culture of Azerbaijan, the names of certain places, they incorrectly inform tourists, that's why we want to prepare professional guides," the spokesman said.

It is also planned to prepare joint regional tourist packages with Georgia, he added.

"Within the framework of these tour packages, tourists will be able to travel both to Georgia and to Azerbaijan."

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.

Thanks to all these, the country has improved its tourism performance in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 released by experts of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The country is placed 71st among the most improved economies in 2017, rising 13 spots in the global ranking.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/business/167029.html

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