Tourism in Azerbaijan: Incomes, investments, jobs. Part 3

Tourism is one of the most effective economic directions, which provides greater employment of people and a huge cash flow both domestically and abroad. According to the report of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the tourism industry has managed to quickly recover from the crisis and today is the largest and most dynamic sector of the global economy.

Jobs

According to the ILO, the tourism sector now produces 9.0 percent of global GDP. It employs about 235 million people, making up 8.0 percent of all workers. "Today, the tourism is the only sector of economy where new jobs are created," ILO experts said.

Tourism development in Azerbaijan is the opening of new jobs. The vast majority of jobs in tourism accounts for small and medium tourism, as well as family businesses. Studies show that the growth of jobs in tourism is one and a half times higher than in any other sector of the economy.

According to the data provided by the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan, the tourism in Azerbaijan in 2009 employed 0.03 percent of the total number of employed in different sectors of the economy and social sphere of the country (4,071,600 people). Of course, it is very small, but for Azerbaijan, as a new country on the world tourist map, this figure is not a bad indicator.

Currently, tourism is ranked first in the world among all other sectors of the economy for the number of jobs. This sector employs 10 percent of the workforce in Europe and occupies a dominant position in Spain, Portugal, France, Britain and Germany, and not mentioning all of those developing countries that exist in the world only due to tourism.

Number of workers employed in tourism activities in Azerbaijan, person

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total number of employees (including)

475

646

779

1115

1174

1393

Of them:

Engaged in tourism activities

426

564

612

745

749

1 136

Including:

State companies

25

24

27

28

45

16

Private companies

450

622

752

1087

1129

1 377

Including:

In private companies

393

562

696

1011

1055

1 286

Foreign companies

39

39

21

33

35

48

Joint companies

18

21

35

43

39

43

Source: State Statistics Committee

It is known that tourism related businesses and jobs are usually created in the least developed regions of the country, which allows to balance its economic opportunities and promote encouraging the rural population. Currently, however, an opposite picture is observed in Azerbaijan. Baku involves the lion share of total employment of tourism workers. It is understandable, because just through government programs, it was started to promote tourism activities in the regions.

Even the world's big hotel chains prefer to build their hotels only in the capital of Azerbaijan, ignoring its regions. Baku is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea and is considered commercial, cultural, educational and tourist center of the country. Given that Baku have been named in the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as the fact that practically there are no international hotel brands in the city, it is most attractive in terms of hotel business development, business tourism, etc.

Number of workers employed in tourism activities in different economic regions of Azerbaijan, person

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Totally in country

426

564

612

745

749

1136

Baku

392

492

534

704

713

1111

Including:

Binagadi district

27

4

2

8

7

12

Khazar district

-

-

-

-

-

311

Sabail district

176

265

247

265

277

272

Sabunchu district

4

4

15

28

28

29

Surakhani district

5

4

4

9

11

11

Narimanov district

37

30

41

211

207

215

Nasimi district

97

123

111

67

67

110

Nizami district

13

12

31

32

26

53

Khatai district

6

4

10

13

14

14

Yasamal district

27

46

73

71

76

84

Absheron economic district

3

9

11

7

6

8

Including:

Sumgayit city

3

9

11

7

6

8

Ganja-Gazakh economic region

-

1

1

-

-

-

Including:

Ganja

-

1

1

-

-

-

Sheki-Zakatala economic region

6

6

-

4

4

-

Including:

Sheki

6

6

-

4

4

-

Guba-Khachmaz economic region

11

51

54

20

20

10

Including:

Khachmaz district

-

49

47

20

20

10

Guba district

3

2

2

-

-

-

Gusar district

8

-

5

-

-

-

Aran economic region

-

-

2

2

2

2

Including:

Mingachevir

-

-

2

2

2

2

Upper Shirvaneconomic region

-

-

2

-

-

-

Including:

Shamakhi district

-

-

2

-

-

-

Nakhchivan economic region

14

5

8

8

4

5

Including:

Nakhchivan

14

5

8

8

4

5

Source: State Statistics Committee

But in the future, Azerbaijan will experience an outflow of tourist activities from the capital to the regions. The economic effect of tourism in the regions primarily reflects itself in creating additional jobs in the tourism industry, increasing employment, and encouraging the development of economically weak regions.

Quality of jobs in tourism industry has its own characteristics, which include:

- Seasonal employment in tourism services;

- Significant share of part-time employed workers;

- Large share of low-skilled physical labor;

- Limited possibilities for automation and computerization of jobs in the tourist industry

(especially in hotels and restaurants).

Developing tourism industry in the regions and improving the quality of tourist services are an additional source of revenues of the territorial budget. Creating a tourism business in remote sparsely populated and industrially underdeveloped regions, which are of interest for tourists (because of the beautiful landscape, rich hunting grounds, location, convenient for sports, etc.) contributes to the development of such regions.

So, thanks to the development of infrastructure in some very attractive tourist regions of Azerbaijan, the country's local population prefer to rest in regions of Azerbaijan rather than in other countries.

Along with the positive consequences of tourism development, it does not need to forget about the negative impacts of the industry, the so-called monoculture of tourism. In the competition for land, resources, the capital of tourism becomes closer to agriculture and other traditional sources of income of local residents. Higher wages in the tourism industry attracts workers, which has a detrimental impact on agriculture because of the outflow of labor force. As a result, agricultural production reduces, while consumption is rising thanks to the numerous tourist arrivals. Simultaneously, the traditional way of life and natural landscape in the centers of mass tourism disrupt or completely destroy.

On the other hand, tourism is a seasonal business. Sometimes seasonal fluctuations in demand can be reduced, but one can never avoid them entirely. Therefore, if tourism is the main industry in the region, "low" season brings a serious employment problem.

But in Azerbaijan it is too early to talk about the negative consequences of tourism. For the Republic today the main is the tourism development. As everyone knows, 2011 even was declared the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan at an official level.

Tourism has established itself as a powerful tool for poverty eradication. It has become an economic basis for many least developed countries, giving them an opportunity to develop and create jobs. In the tourism industry, the dynamics of growth in services leads to an increase in the number of jobs much faster than in other industries. The time gap between the increasing demand for tourist services and new jobs in the tourist business is minimal.

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