BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 28. Baku is hosting the 11th conference of tourism ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries on June 28, Trend reports.
Tourism ministers of the OIC countries, heads of tourism associations and other officials are taking part in the conference.
Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan Fuad Naghiyev noted that this session is the first meeting of tourism representatives of Islamic countries after the COVID-19 pandemic and serves as an important platform for developing interaction between the participating countries.
According to Naghiyev, Azerbaijan's ties with the OIC countries in the sphere of tourism are developing.
The share of tourists from Islamic countries visiting Azerbaijan is 55 percent of the total number of tourists, Naghiyev said.
He expressed hope that the increase in the number of direct flights between OIC countries and the existence of a simplified visa regime will contribute to a further increase in these indicators.
Naghiyev noted that the tourism industry in Azerbaijan began to recover rapidly in the post-pandemic period, and the number of foreign citizens visiting our country increased by 118 percent in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
Naghiyev also said that Azerbaijani historical and religious monuments and samples of cultural heritage were destroyed on the country’s lands during the period of Armenian occupation.
According to him, the state is currently carrying out large-scale work to restore liberated Karabakh [in the 2020 Second Karabakh War] and other liberated territories.
He also invited the participants of the session to visit Azerbaijan’s Shusha, so that they could witness destruction done there, and reconstruction and restoration work being carried out on liberated lands.
OIC Secretary General Hussein Brahim Taha thanked Azerbaijan for organizing the session at a high level, during his speech. He also noted that the expansion of tourism ties between OIC member countries contributes to Islamic solidarity.