BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 17
"The TANAP gas pipeline was commissioned last year. I consider this a historic achievement because TANAP forms the main part of the Southern Gas Corridor. It was after the TANAP agreement signed in 2012 that the development of the Shah Deniz-2 gas condensate field was sanctioned. If TANAP had not been signed, the development of Shah Deniz-2 would not have begun and we couldn’t have obtained this additional volume of gas today. This could have created major problems. Therefore, the signing of the TANAP agreement, the early commissioning of this gas pipeline and the significant savings are a great historic achievement for us," President Ilham Aliyev said.
The head of state noted that the remaining fourth project of the South Gas Corridor is also being successfully implemented.
"The implementation level of the TAP project now exceeds 90 percent. I am sure that we will also celebrate the commissioning of the TAP project at the scheduled time this year. I want to bring one more issue to your attention. It consists in the fact that all the work done, including our positions in the international arena, the establishment of friendly relations with many countries, the stability and tranquility prevailing in our country – all this has given a powerful impetus to the development of tourism. I have repeatedly said that the development of tourism is not limited only to historical monuments or some issues that attract attention and interest. In today's world, there is no region where there are no problems – in fact, very serious ones. As I have already noted, wars, confrontations, coups, public protests, police violence, violation of human rights – of course, the influx of tourists in countries experiencing all this is in decline," President Ilham Aliyev said.
The head of state stressed that the stability in Azerbaijan, the strengthening of our international positions and the international events held in our country serve the development of tourism.
"Last year, the flow of tourists reached a record high – 3,170,000 foreigners visited our country. According to the information provided to me, foreign tourists spent 1.260 billion manats in Azerbaijan through bank cards alone. In general, we must take into account the fact that tourists come mainly from neighboring countries and cash payments prevail there, just as they do here. Calculations show that foreign tourists spent as much as 4.3 billion manats in Azerbaijan. I speak in manats, but this is actually currency. This currency is also a kind of exports. This plays a very important role in our macroeconomic stability. Of course, we earn the main currency from the sale of oil and gas although growth of non-oil exports by 14 percent provides for an influx of currency from this sector as well," President Ilham Aliyev said.
The head of state underlined that tourism development will continue to be in the spotlight.
"Thus, we could spend hours talking about the successes achieved in 2019. I have simply highlighted the issues I consider to be the main ones for citizens of Azerbaijan. I want to say again: we will follow this path of success in 2020. I am sure that 2020 will also be successful for our country," President Ilham Aliyev said.