Azerbaijan as tourism destination
The rich historical, cultural and natural heritage of the country attracts visitors from all over the world. Untouched nature, mineral springs, the world's only oil field treatment - naphthalene, a unique ancient architecture, unique culture, cuisine, and more contribute to the formation in Azerbaijan of all types of tourism: business, sport, medical, cognitive, hunting, exotic, beach and even gastronomic.
Azerbaijan is a territory of 9-out of 11 of the world's climatic zones. Climate of our country enables to organize summer and winter holidays. Very common are ecological tours to Azerbaijan, which include visits to nature reservations, trekking and climbing routes. Midday sandy beaches offer opportunities for diving, and swimming season starts in Azerbaijan in May.
Tourism sector in Azerbaijan is developing day by day, becoming one of the most important sectors of the economy.
The “State Program on development of tourism in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2002-2005” approved by the Decree of President Heydar Aliyev, as well as the “State Program on socio-economic development of regions” were of great importance for the tourism industry, and their implementation will create favorable conditions for building rich infrastructure and lay the foundation for our country's integration into the international tourism market. Gained in those years of social and economic experience has created new opportunities for the full development of tourism. World Heritage List of UNESCO included the Inner City of Baku “Old City” with the Shirvanshahs Palace and Maiden Tower and museum of petroglyphs “Gobustan”. On turn other unique historical and archaeological curiosities.
Announcement by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev the year 2011 as the Year of Tourism, preparation of and holding a prestigious international contest “Eurovision-2012” in the capital of Azerbaijan have created new opportunities to increase the flow of tourists from all over the world, and given a powerful impetus to the development of domestic tourism. In particular, in the Year of Tourism there were opened a lot of new hotels in tourist regions, roads in the direction of historical and cultural reservations and sites of special purpose have been improved and repaired, tourist traffic signs have been established, the construction of a tourist complex “Shahdag” has been sped up, the works on Development of tourism infrastructure in the cultural and historical reservations such as Shabran and Lahij, have been carried out. A draft navigation GoMap which includes data on tourist areas, monuments and other landmarks of the country has been implemented as well.
As a result of government’s actions in the country, a modern hotel and service infrastructure has been established, training of personnel for the tourism industry has been provided, and an extensive network of travel agencies (more than 200 travel agencies) has been ensured, information and advertising structures are successfully operating, a lot of tourist routes which pass through the most picturesque and fertile regions have been created and tested in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan learns quickly and gains experience. The country is annually held international exhibition “Travel and Tourism» AITF. Azerbaijan, in turn, participates in the 20 most prestigious international tourism forums in London (WTM), Berlin (ITB), Moscow (MITT), Istanbul (MTE), etc.
The flow of tourists is increasing every year (according to official information in 2011 Azerbaijan was visited a record number of foreign nationals - more than 2.2 million), so in the capital and other tourist areas there is a growing number of hotels with the highest level of service. Today their number is more than 500. Among the most popular hotels in the capital are the chain of brand hotels such as Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Hyatt Regency, JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel, Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel, Grand Hotel Europe, Hilton Baku, Kempinski Hotel Badamdar etc.
Hotels, recreation, entertainment and sports centres operate also in the regions of Azerbaijan - a chain of hotels and amusement park Qafqaz Gabaland in Gabala, the epic winter and summer tourist complex “Shahdag” in Gusar region, more than 15 Olympic sports complex having necessary infrastructure for receiving tourists all over the country, etc.
All this indicates that tourism in Azerbaijan is one of the priorities of the state policy and holds great promise for economic development.