Weekly economic review (Sept.26-30)

Analysis Materials 5 October 2011 11:10 (UTC +04:00)

The Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Ministry has announced major problems identified during monitoring conducted in the regions in connection with the summer tourist season.

"The main problem is a weak advertising of tourist facilities and non-licensed activity," Head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry's Tourism Department Aydin Ismiyev said at the Baku Republican Conference dedicated to the domestic tourism development. "The level of employees' training is equal to zero at most tourist facilities."

Ismiyev said very few tourism facilities offer additional services. Prices in the tourism facilities have decreased by 15 percent in this tourist season.

Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Ministry will take appropriate measures against hotels and hotel-type facilities operating without a license. Serious inspections have been given to the relevant bodies. In addition, licenses of Khazar Tourism Center, which operates in the Lankaran region, and Sahil tourism facility in Gabala region have been revoked. The licenses are revoked because the organization of services at these enterprises is below standard.

The goal of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to bring the number of tourists arriving in the country to five million people per year. Achieving this goal will be possible until 2015, for which today there are all conditions.

The number of tourists who visited Azerbaijan will reach 2 million people by late 2011, Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev said at a nationwide conference on domestic tourism.

He said 1.6 million tourists have visited Azerbaijan since early 2011. This is 14 percent more than the same period of last year.

"About 46 tourist facilities are under construction now. About 22 tourist facilities have been put into operation since early 2011," the official said.

The tourists who come to Azerbaijan spend in country over $1 billion per year, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Vagif Aliyev told Trend on Friday.

"About two million tourists arrive in Azerbaijan per year, each of whom spends at least $500-600. It is possible to calculate that the country receives about $1 billion from tourists per year," said Aliyev.

He said earnings from tourism increase in Azerbaijan from year to year. For example, this year, the tourist flow increased by 14-15 percent compared to last year. "Next year, growth could reach 20 percent," said Aliyev.

According to him, over six million manat per year is allocated through the Ministry to implement the policies of tourism, improve legislative base, advertising, for participation in international tourism exhibitions, participation in international organizations, presentation of the Azerbaijani tourism products to world markets and other measures.

"The budget increases from year to year, and so the costs for development of tourism sector grow," said Aliyev.

In general, he said, the money allocated by the state for tourism development is several times more than these funds.

The draft long-term strategy for economic development of Azerbaijan in 2011-2025 prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development suggests to increase the share of tourism in the country's GDP from 0.8 percent in 2009 to at least three percent in 2025. In 2010, this figure had already reached one percent.

In addition, the Ministry predicts an increase in the index of competitiveness in the tourism and travel from 3.84 in 2009 to 4.5 or more in 2025, the index of the regulatory framework in the tourism and travel - from 4.95 to 6 and more, the index of business environment and infrastructure in the tourism and travel - from 3.19 to 4.5 and more, the index of human, cultural and natural resources in the tourism and travel - from 3.4 to 4.5 and more.