Azerbaijan experiencing slight growth in tourism: minister
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 29 / Trend , U.Ismayilova/
In the first half, the growth in the tourism sector in Azerbaijan amounted to 0.3 per cent, despite the influence of the global financial crisis in the world on this sector, the country's Tourism and Culture Minister, Abulfaz Garayev said at a news conference on Sept. 29.
"In January-June, the number of people arriving in the country increased by 309 people and was 783.208 people compared to the same period of 2009," said the minister.
He said in 2008, persons arriving in Azerbaijan numbered 1.898 million and 1.408 million of them came as tourists.
The Minister also said that in 2008 the number of people visiting the country grew by over 398,000 people, ie 39.4 per cent.
"I think by late 2009, the ongoing events held in connection with the announcement of Baku as the capital of the Islamic culture, we can expect further growth of tourism by 3-5 per cent," said the minister.
Since early 2009, Garayev said the tourism potential of Azerbaijan was represented at 12 international exhibitions which were held in Madrid, Vienna, Morocco, Berlin, Istanbul, Riga, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Tokyo and Paris.
All of this suggests that as a result of targeted marketing, special group have been formed to work with countries in Europe, the Far East and Persian Gulf countries, which are important for Azerbaijan, and a significant influx of tourists in the coming years is expected from these countries.
Garayev said the Tourism Ministry prepares two more commercials on the tourism potential of the country for the broadcast via CNN and Euronews. For this purpose, the country's public budget allocated $1.5 million for this year, the cost of a minute broadcast on these channels is more than $300,000. New videos will be presented simultaneously with two others that have already aired on CNN and Euronews, in late October or early November.
CNN also broadcasts a special promotional video representing Baku, as a center of cultural tourism in 2009, which also affects the inflow of tourists into the country, said Garayev.
"A total of 3.5 million manat was will be invested in the development of tourism in Azerbaijan in 2009," said the minister.
Speaking about the development of human resources for tourism, the Minister noted that this year, 300 students have graduated from the Azerbaijan Tourism Institute, and the first professional experts, prepared by the country, will appear on the tourist market of the country, and 200 of them have been already employed.