Prospects of Baku-Riga ties: from tourism to investments
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 26
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
Baku’s beauty, appearance of the modern megalopolis, amazing scenery and climate, architecture, rich and diverse cuisine, hospitality of the people, and worldwide sporting events held regularly make Azerbaijan attractive for tourists, says Juris Maklakovs, ambassador of Latvia to Azerbaijan.
Simplification of the visa regime for foreign citizens by Azerbaijan since January 2017 is definitely a positive step, which will certainly have a positive impact on the development of tourism in the country, Maklakovs said in an interview with Trend.
The diplomat said he discovered many interesting and beautiful places in Baku and beyond the capital city in the early days of his stay in Azerbaijan.
“Now that the visa regime has been simplified, more tourists will come to Azerbaijan,” he added.
“The flow of tourists from Arab countries after the visa regime with those countries was simplified is another proof of this,” said Maklakovs.
He added that first and foremost there should be a direct flight between Azerbaijan and Latvia for the tourist flow from his country to increase.
“Currently, the Baku-Riga direct flight is open only in summer and autumn,” Maklakovs noted. “If the flight is carried out regularly, there will be much more tourists from Latvia.”
Maklakovs said that it would be interesting for the Latvian tourists to come to Azerbaijan, get acquainted with the sights of Baku and districts, try national cuisine, and enjoy the hospitality of the Azerbaijani people.
“Tourists from Latvia will also eagerly come to such global events as the Formula 1,” the diplomat said.
The Latvian ambassador says he recommends his compatriots willing to come to Azerbaijan to visit the historical and archaeological complexes in the suburbs of Baku – Gobustan and Surakhani.
“The tourists should also visit Azerbaijan’s regions, in particular, Shaki, Guba, Shamakhi, Gabala, get acquainted with culture, cuisine and hospitality of the local population,” Maklakovs said.
“Business cannot grow if there are difficulties with visiting the country,” he noted. “Tourism can be seen as a first step: people first have to come to a country and get acquainted with it, and then, after seeing that there is an opportunity to establish business, partnership, the people may want to work in that place.”
Simplification of the visa regime in Azerbaijan can become a serious step, which will give momentum to the establishment of business contacts afterwards, said the diplomat.
Maklakovs also called on Azerbaijani investors to invest in Latvia.
He said that currently the volume of Azerbaijani investments in the Latvian economy is $16 million.
“Latvia offers Azerbaijani investors favorable conditions in the form of a special tax regime, guarantees, tax incentives for the enterprises located in specially supported territories, and protection of the investments,” said Maklakovs.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Asebaa