Main problems of Azerbaijan’s domestic tourism solved, expert says

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 7 /Trend E. Aliyev/

The problems that previously accompanied the development of domestic tourism in Azerbaijan have now been resolved, Ata Travel Deputy General Director, Ertogrul Gafarov believes.

"Generally, the tourism market can be divided into two parts - reception of tourists in Azerbaijan and their departure from the country. Recently, the first area is developing more actively because the main problems associated with reception of foreign tourists have been long ago solved," Gafarov told Trend on Friday.

According to Ata Travel Deputy General Director, the first problem was related to obtaining visas.

"Before, it was more difficult for foreigners to obtain a visa to Azerbaijan," Gafarov said.

Let us take a large country such as China for example, where a foreigner who did not live in Beijing, had to pay extra costs for travelling to the capital to appeal to the Azerbaijani Embassy for obtaining a visa to Azerbaijan, Ata Travel Deputy General Director said.

"This problem was solved when electronic tourist visas started to be issued from May 2013, by the order of the Azerbaijani President and this greatly simplified the process for both guests and tour operators and immediately reflected in the flow of tourists," Gafarov said.

According to Ata Travel Deputy General Director, the second factor was a shortage of inns and hotels at the required level.

"But as is known, a significant amount of high quality hotels have been opened in the country in recent years which also led to lower prices, improvement of quality and increase of offers," Gafarov added.

According to him, this trend will continue in the future.

"In addition, in the case of carrying out more flights in Azerbaijan at relatively cheap prices, there will be more airlines operating in this sphere and the country's tourism market will have greater benefits. Azerbaijan has something to demonstrate, something to attract visitors with," Gafarov noted.

In his opinion, the number of companies engaged in the reception of foreign tourists has increased.

"A few years ago, there were only a few dozen such companies, but now about 100 tourist firms are engaged in domestic tourism. Of course, not all of them have sufficient human resources, qualifications and experience and their failures adversely affect the country's reputation in the eyes of foreign visitors, but over time this factor will also come to naught, and at least there is a desire of market participants to work and improve," Gafarov said.

Ata Travel Ltd, included in the Ata Holding group of companies, was established in 2011. Ata Travel provides numerous services for visiting any part of the world. The company has been rendering services for its customers in reservation of hotels, transfers, air tickets and tours, insurance and visas. The travel agency also provides the possibility to purchase travel packages on credit under favourable terms.

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