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Number of tourists increased by 20pct [PHOTO]

Number of tourists increased by 20pct [PHOTO]

By Sara Israfilbayova

Tourism in Azerbaijan is developing rapidly, and to support the flow of foreign visitors, comprehensive activities are carried out. Thanks to the activities, the number of tourists in Azerbaijan increased by 20 percent last year, while in the world this indicator equaled to 7 percent.

The statement came from Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev at the conference, titled “Benefits of Hosting Major Sports Events in 2018”, held in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

The minister stated that the goal is to increase the number of tourists arriving in Azerbaijan to 3.5 million.

“According to the latest statistics, the number of arrivals in our country equaled to 2.6 million people. We want to bring this figure to 3.5 million people,” the minister stressed.

Garayev went on to say that music and shopping festivals are being organized in order to attract tourists to the country.

“The biggest benefit is to increase the authority of the country in the world,” according to the minister.

Early the Ministry said that most of all, Azerbaijan was visited by tourists from Russia-853,082 people (31.6 percent of the foreign tourists). The second and third lines are taken by citizens of Georgia-537,000 people (19.9 percent) and Iran-362,000 people (13.4 percent).

Moreover, among those visiting the county were tourists from Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, and India.

Large-scale competitions contribute to tourist flow

Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov, in turn, noted that after Azerbaijan gained independence, a number of large-scale events were held in the country, including the European Games, the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Formula 1, the World Chess Olympiad.

The minister added that when talking about the competitions, the legacy they left behind is also worth mentioning.

“This includes the Olympic Stadium in Baku, the National Gymnastics Arena, etc. We also should not forget the human factor. The group of volunteers contributed to the major competitions. Azerbaijan opened the doors for thousands of tourists. They come to Azerbaijan not only for competitions, but also to celebrate a number of holidays here. For us, agitation through sport is very important,” the minister concluded.

Azerbaijan is a state with rich sports traditions. In recent years many sports complexes that meet the highest level are being built and handed over to athletes were opened in the regions of the country.

Several international world-level competitions are held in these Olympic complexes. Every year national athletes win medals at various competitions.

Over the past few years, Azerbaijan has become one of the world’s sports centers.

The country’s achievements in the field of sports, the successes won by athletes in significant international competitions, became possible in close cooperation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Olympic Committee, sports federations, sports clubs and sports societies.

Baku to be promoted to the world through Formula 1

Taking his turn, Chief Executive Officer of Formula 1 Group, Chase Carey said that Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix held in Baku last year was very exciting.

“While other major contests are held once in four years, Formula 1 is arranged every year. This sport has a great potential. We will try to make this year’s race more exciting and higher quality. We have a unique race. We would like to turn each race into a one-week festivity, a tradition. We would like to feel the full spirit of race in such cities as Montreal, Milan and Baku,” the CEO emphasized.

Carey went on to say that they work to promote Baku in the world, adding that thousands of people watch this race live and millions of fans watch it through mass media.

“We seek to this exciting experience with a bigger audience. The races held in Baku were broadcasted in various countries. This is important to convey the peculiarity of each Grand Prix. We must also inform people about the history of the race. We expand geographically. We would like to bring this sport to different parts of the world. We plan to create a big platform to promote Baku in the world. It is necessary to expand our broadcasts and to reach more people. Through this platform the whole world can learn about Baku and visit here. The influence of the city is growing. We must be proud of organizing the event,” he explained.

More passengers transported through the Heydar Aliyev International Airport  

Further, in his turn, AZAL Vice President Eldar Hajiyev underlined that the number of passengers transported by Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC (AZAL) is growing every year.

He added that aviation plays an important role in holding international sports competitions in Azerbaijan.

“The constant work is being carried out to improve flight safety and the level of service,” Hajiyev said, adding that currently, seven airports operate in Azerbaijan, six of which have international status.

“The number of passengers transported through the Heydar Aliyev International Airport is increasing every year. In 2017, the airport served more than 4 million passengers, which is 20 percent more than in 2016,” Hajiyev said. “If the passenger flow continues to grow in the near future, there will be no need for additional investments.”

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