Foreign tourists spend over $1bln in Azerbaijan per year
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 30 /Trend, A.Akhundov/
The tourists who come to Azerbaijan spend in country over $1 billion per year, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Vagif Aliyev told Trend on Friday.
"About two million tourists arrive in Azerbaijan per year, each of whom spends at least $500-600. It is possible to calculate that the country receives about $1 billion from tourists per year," said Aliyev.
He said earnings from tourism increase in Azerbaijan from year to year. For example, this year, the tourist flow increased by 14-15 percent compared to last year. "Next year, growth could reach 20 percent," said Aliyev.
According to him, over six million manat per year is allocated through the Ministry to implement the policies of tourism, improve legislative base, advertising, for participation in international tourism exhibitions, participation in international organizations, presentation of the Azerbaijani tourism products to world markets and other measures.
"The budget increases from year to year, and so the costs for development of tourism sector grow," said Aliyev.
In general, he said, the money allocated by the state for tourism development is several times more than these funds.
The draft long-term strategy for economic development of Azerbaijan in 2011-2025 prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development suggests to increase the share of tourism in the country's GDP from 0.8 percent in 2009 to at least three percent in 2025. In 2010, this figure had already reached one percent.
In addition, the Ministry predicts an increase in the index of competitiveness in the tourism and travel from 3.84 in 2009 to 4.5 or more in 2025, the index of the regulatory framework in the tourism and travel - from 4.95 to 6 and more, the index of business environment and infrastructure in the tourism and travel - from 3.19 to 4.5 and more, the index of human, cultural and natural resources in the tourism and travel - from 3.4 to 4.5 and more.
Official exchange rate on Sept. 30 is 0.7869 AZN/USD.