Official: Azerbaijan intends to increase competitiveness of tourism market
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 3 / Trend U.Ismayilova /
The number of foreign nationals who visited Azerbaijan in 2010, amounted to 1.85 million, Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Ministry's Apparatus Chief Firudin Gurbanov said in an interview for the New Azerbaijan party's website on Thursday.
"The number of foreigners visiting the country increased by 1.6 times compared to 2005," Gurbanov said.
He said the growth has been achieved as a result of a number of studies over the past five years, from the period of the Culture and Tourism Ministry's establishment.
The number of foreigners visiting the country, Gurbanov said, annually reaches 2 million people. The number of travel companies over the past 5 years has grown to 214, the number of hotels and hotel-type facilities, compared with 2005, nearly half - from 262 to 477, 80 percent of which are located in the country's regions.
Gurbanov said that tourism stimulates the creation of new jobs. In 2010, five-star hotels were put into operation in Baku. The hotels in the country's regions also meet the international standards.
Azerbaijan has implemented a number of programs for tourism development and identified new tourist destinations. At present is construction of the Shahdag ski resort in Gusar. Cost is estimated at 1.5 billion manat, Gurbanov said.
The Shahdag winter-ski complex will be a tourism complex which meets all international standards and issues related to the creation of infrastructure - roads, electricity supply, construction of hotels, and other facilities are being addressed," he said.
Serious attention is also paid to the development of tourism infrastructure in other regions of the country. Joint action of several spheres is required for tourism development. "We are working towards the development of the tourism market competitive on the world tourist market," Gurbanov said.
As a part of 2011 - the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan, declared by President Ilham Aliyev, the ministry has developed a plan for appropriate activities, Gurbanov said. The ministry has also established a special working group to implement this plan.
All work under the Year of Tourism will be implemented in accordance with the state tourism development program for 2010-2014, he said.