Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 11
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan intends to increase the number of tourists visiting the country to 5 million people per year, the country's Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev said on March 11.
He made the remarks during the Caspian Energy Forum-2015 being held in Baku.
The minister said the share of tourism in Azerbaijan's GDP is 2.4 percent, or 1.3 billion Azerbaijani manats, adding that it is a very good level.
"The inrush of tourists to Azerbaijan has increased in recent times thanks to the stable situation in the country," said Garayev.
The minister added that the inrush of tourists to Azerbaijan from more distant countries has increased. "We have seen increase in the number of tourists from Europe, the US, Far East countries and Arab states in recent times."
Recently there has been a decrease in the total share of Russian and Georgian tourists visiting Azerbaijan, according to Garayev.
He added that Azerbaijan presently is losing in the competition in this sphere with other countries of the region, for instance, Turkey, where there are more sunny days per year.
"Therefore, a decision was made to develop and build various tourism clusters in the country's regions," said the minister. "Seven zones where they will be built have already been determined."
Garayev added that Azerbaijan will continue working towards attracting more tourists. "Each tourist visiting Azerbaijan spends at least $700 here," he said.
Naturally from the economic point of view, it is beneficial for the state and its budget, according to the minister.
The official exchange rate on Mar.11 is 1.0492 AZN/USD.
Edited by CN
Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov