Weekly economic review (18.07- 23.07.2011)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed an order approving an Action Plan on declaring 2011 as "Tourism Year".

According to the order, Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Ministry is defined as a coordinating body in organizing execution of the Action Plan.

The Cabinet of Ministers is instructed to ensure financing of arrangements envisaged by activities and address other issues arising from the order.

A meting chaired by Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev discussed the Action Plan for the 2011 Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan.

The Tourism Institute Rector, Jafar Jafarov, Azerbaijani Tourism Agencies' Association Head Nahid Bagirov and deputy ministers, heads of departments, and department staff attended the meeting, the ministry reported.

Garayev said the Action Plan for the Year of Tourism was developed several months ago upon the Azerbaijani president's instructions. He said that executing the action plan will encourage the country's development of tourism.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry is responsible for the execution.

The Action Plan covers various areas and provides for the implementation of measures to develop traditional tourism infrastructure and cultural tourism.

Tourist camps under the title "This Is Our Homeland" will be organized throughout the country's regions in July-September.

Under the plans, specialized tourist trains will be put into operation on the Baku - Tbilisi - Baku route due to the increased tourist flow between Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Soft loans will be provided to large and medium businesses in the tourism sector for additional assistance. It is also expected to develop proposals related to the attraction of additional investment in tourism. There also will be carried out work to create recreational facilities in areas with mineral springs and other natural resources.

The planned measures will affect and strengthen the legal framework for tourism development in Azerbaijan.

A bill on tourism is planned to be presented to the Azerbaijani parliament by late 2011.

A professional holiday of the tourism industry workers will be set in Azerbaijan. The relevant structures should prepare proposals on the subject in late summer and early fall.

Relevant work will be carried to simplify the visa obtaining process to increase the tourist flow to Azerbaijan. Special tariff packages will be developed for tourist groups traveling by land, air or sea.

Proposals for the development of beach tourism along the Caspian Sea coast will be developed under the Action Plan for the 2011 Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan

The Ministries of Culture and Tourism, Ecology and Natural Resources, and Emergency Situations are assigned to develop proposals in 2011.

Documents will be prepared related to the inclusion of tombs in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Moreover, a map of the Azerbaijani territories with the historical and cultural sites, nature reserves, and archaeological areas of historical value will be developed. These areas will be transferred to the Culture and Tourism Ministry in accordance with the requirements of land legislation, if there is a need for expansion.

An international conference devoted to prospects for cross-border tourism will be held in Azerbaijan in the second half of 2011. Representatives of neighboring states will be invited to attend the event.

It is expected to conduct extensive work on the development of tourism infrastructure in Azerbaijan in 2011.

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