DUBAI – Azerbaijan, the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia is hoping to get a boost to its tourism sector from GCC, with the opening of the republic’s tourism representative office in Dubai.
Announcing the official opening of the Republic of Azerbaijan Cultural and Tourism Middle East representative Dubai office earlier this month in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijani Minister for Culture and Tourism, said that GCC was a very important region for the country’s tourism sector given its tremendous economic and infrastructural development.
“Last year, we saw an increase in the number of scheduled flights from the Middle East to Azerbaijan, and with the support of our regional travel trade partners, we are happy to report an increase in numbers of visitors from GCC to Azerbaijan,” he said.
“We expect further expansion of this market for destination Azerbaijan and this prompted us to open our first dedicated representative office in Dubai to be able to do extended marketing and public relations activities planned for this region,” he explained.
“The opening of this office not only proves the importance of the Middle East as a developing market for Azerbaijan, but also our commitment to develop this market further,” he added. While highlighting the vital role played by Azerbaijan Airlines and flydubai, currently offering daily flights to Baku from Dubai, the Minister also pledged to initiate joint marketing and promotion campaigns to sustain and consolidate leisure and business travel from GCC to Azerbaijan.
Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan, with its history dating back to 10,000 BC, rich culture and beautiful nature, offers a unique experience. Industry observers say that given the regional unrest, Azerbaijan can become an alternative destination to once booming, but now troubled tourist destinations in the Middle East.
According to Aydin Ismiyev, head of tourism department at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, the Middle East market is still not very well informed about Azerbaijan. “While we have a lot of tourists from Europe, South East Asia, Far East and US every year, numbers from the Middle East, although encouraging, but do not reflect the existing potential,” he said.
Out of 1.98 million of visitors to Azerbaijan from abroad last year, some 1.5 million people were tourists, he said, adding that six more five-star hotels in addition to the existing 16 will be launched this year to meet demand in high-end segment.