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Azerbaijan Tourism on a high

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of culture and tourism released a report on the surge in flow of UAE tourists into the country in 2017. The country welcomed an overall number of 1,199,667 foreign citizens, 24.5% more people compared to 2016.

It is undoubtedly that UAE and Saudi Arabia drove volumes and set the stage for a healthy first half of 2017. This period resulted in a 338% growth in overnight tourists from UAE with March alone peaking at 86% while attracting 44,196 UAE visitors.

The other markets which showed substantial percentage increase were Russia, Iraq, Iran and other countries visitations jumped 17% compared to 2016. Georgia had 254,425 people visit Azerbaijan resulting in a four percent increase; the number from Iran were at 180,103 people resulting in an 89% increase; Ukraine pushed 27 342 people to Azerbaijan capturing a 14% growth and finally, Iraq had 19 355 people visit Azerbaijan resulting in a 75% increase. During this period, 138, 692 people also visited Azerbaijan from Turkey.

The flow of arrivals from Arab countries, including Oman grew 16-fold, Kuwait eight-fold, Saudi Arabia six-fold, Morocco five-fold, Al-Jazeera 3.5-fold, Jordan 2.2-fold and Turkmenistan two-fold.

International tourist numbers were also on the rise with CIS states by 12%, EU by 13%, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East by 117%, Asian countries by 64.4%, African countries by 72%, and America and Australia by 22.8%.

Rashid Al Noori, chairman of the Representative Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan in GCC said: “We have worked together with travel companies as part of our tourism activity, to boost awareness and heighten visitor figures. We look forward to higher growth by end of 2017.  The Government’s planned mega projects will also contribute to market growth. We regard the steady developments of Azerbaijan’s infrastructure and establishment of the Baku shopping Festival as efforts that will bring in corporate visitors besides GCC leisure tourists.”

Al Noori also highlighted increased air links to Azerbaijan, mentioning that Air Arabia now operates flights to Azerbaijan five times a week; Azerbaijan Airlines introduced flights from Kuwait every Thursday, Jazeera Airways presently operates two flights a week (Monday and Friday) to Baku and finally, Wataniya Airways operates flights to Baku on Wednesday and Saturday. Etihad Airways will soon be joining this list. These flights are besides the current six flights per day from Dubai by flydubai and Azerbaijan Airways.

The country is also looking to introduce infrastructure dedicated to kids’ and teens’ events and activities.