Home to Baku GP, Azerbaijan is Eyeing Indian Market for Tourism Growth
Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic nation bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, falls in both Asia and Europe. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Over the last year, the tourist influx from India has suddenly grown and the Tourism Board (ATB) wants to further develop the interest among Indians, as more and more travellers are preferring international destinations to spend some leisure time.
The Tourism Board (ATB) is now holding a three-city roadshow in India in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, running from 9-13 September. The event aims to educate travellers about Azerbaijan and provides a platform to Indian trade partners and travel agents to learn about the experiences that Azerbaijan has to offer.
With a direct flight from Delhi and a simplified electronic visa procedure for Indian passport holders, tourism from India to Azerbaijan increased by 80% in 2019. The new initiatives are expected to improve Azerbaijan’s ranking among countries with a high tourism contribution towards national GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council 2018 Impact Report. It is forecast to be at 6% per annum over the course of the next 10 years ranking it amongst the world’s top 20 high potential countries.
Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan has nine of the world’s eleven climate zones, offering travellers an affordable European experience all year round. Not only this, sporting events are a big way to boost tourism in any country and Azerbaijan has successfully managed to organize the Baku GP, Formula One race over the past few years. Also, the upcoming UEFA Cup is expected to bring more attention to the country.
“Azerbaijan is the ideal destination for numerous reasons. With excellent connectivity and a wide variety of experiences, Baku is an affluent city with modern infrastructure. It is still a relatively unexplored destination, which is a key selling point for Indian tourists who want a unique experience. We are seeing a surge in business events and wedding travel – Azerbaijan provides the perfect set up for weddings with world class hotels and gorgeous indoor and outdoor locations. With over 15 million weddings each year, the Indian wedding, honeymoon and milestone celebrations market offers tremendous potential,” said H.E. Mr. Ashraf Shikhaliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to India.
“These roadshows underpin our commitment to India and its residents. The Azerbaijani people are excited to share their culture, cuisine and country with visitors from India. We encourage everyone to indulge their palate with unique flavours and expect a plethora of gourmet vegetarian options that will delight food connoisseurs. We look forward to enhancing our tourism proposition in the industry and becoming a leading destination brand in the world, as we continue to provide tourists with unique, authentic experiences that will leave them with lasting memories for a lifetime. Tourism is the cornerstone of Azerbaijan’s diversified economic growth and the recent investments in tourism and country promotion are testimony to the fact that Azerbaijan is poised to become a premium MICE destination with a well-developed corporate infrastructure equipped to host large-scale business meetings and conferences,” commented Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board.
“Azerbaijan Airlines route network is constantly analysing demand from tourists and looking at launching direct flights to these destinations. The national air carrier AZAL is known for its high level of service and safety and in the coming years, we are working towards expanding and adding flights to more destinations in the Asian region,” said Mr. Nazim Samadov, Deputy Director Executive of Azerbaijan Airlines / Buta Airways Director.