Weekly economic review (April 9-14)
AITF 2012 - Azerbaijan International Travel and Tourism Fair, annual meeting place of the tourism industry experts, took place from April 12 to 14 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Iteca Caspian said.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan was officially supporting the exhibition, and support was also being provided by the World Tourism Organisation, the Azerbaijan Export & Investment Promotion Foundation, the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) Organisations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the International Tourism Trade Fairs Association.
Azerbaijan Airlines is the event's official airline, and for the second year running SW Travel was sponsoring the event. AITF 2012 was being organised by ITE Group plc and its partners in Azerbaijan Iteca Caspian LLC.
AITF 2012 brought together more than 200 exhibitors, all presenting their exclusive tourist offerings. The exhibition showcased 60 tourist destinations, with 15 national stands and 28 countries.
Turkey was the event's partner country for the third year running, and showcased its tourist potential from an extensive stand.
Bulgaria was the guest country for the first time in AIFT.
According to Ivo Marinov, Deputy Minister for Economy, Energy and Tourism of Bulgaria, there is great potential for cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan in the tourism sector.
Georgia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Dubai presented national stands, and the Stavropol Region's stand combined offerings from the resort towns of Yessentuki, Zheleznogorsk, Kislovodsk, Mineralnye Vody and Pyatigorsk, all famous for their popular spa treatments. Several high-profile organisations were making their first appearance at the exhibition this year, such as the Lithuanian Spa Association, representation from Slovenia's wellness and spa sector.
Mauritius, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Thailand and several others exhibited this year to demonstrate the exotic locations available to the Azerbaijan outbound travel market. The World Tourism Organisation, a long-time supporter of the event, was also exhibiting at this year's event, which emphasised the international interest shown in AITF.
Traditionally, the stand of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Republic demonstrated the potential for tourism in Azerbaijan at the exhibition. New destinations for adventure holidays in Azerbaijan were presented by travel agents, holiday spots and spas in the country. World famous hotel brands such as Fairmont, Hilton Baku, Kempinski and Park Inn completed the exhibition's domestic representation.
The exhibition's standout aspect this year was its extensive business programme, with open presentations and various cultural and entertainment events to bring to life the national character of the exhibiting countries. The programme focused on active interaction between exhibitors and visitors and allowed them to get useful information on the tourism industry by means of the following: Qatar Airways delivered themed presentations every day on their destinations in Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Thailand's National Tourism Agency presented the country's exotic resorts. The Visegrád Group, a union of Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, gave visitors the chance to find out about tours to their countries.