- Özgür Töre
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) welcomes the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan as its newest government member. The agency is the executive authority carrying out and regulating the state policy in the field of tourism.
“The State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan understands the importance of the tremendous growth and influence of the Asia Pacific region and, through PATA’s various activities, they now enjoy access to our Association’s extensive network of members as well as in-depth research and insights to help them to develop tourism in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “In welcoming Azerbaijan to the PATA family, I encourage our members and industry friends to learn much more about this culturally rich and historic destination.”
Fuad Naghiyev, Chairman of the State Tourism Agency, said, “It is a great honour to be part of such an acclaimed global network as the Pacific Asia Travel Association. The Asia-Pacific region is one of the key markets for us as we are observing a significant increase in the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan from this region. Certainly, we are eager to support and contribute to this growth by co-operating with public and private entities in the region’s tourism sector, providing trainings for travel industry representatives and engaging in other capacity-building activities aimed at strengthening ties in the sphere of tourism between Azerbaijan and the Asia-Pacific region.”
The agency’s mission is to demonstrate a strategy focused approach to create an environment fostering the development of tourism in Azerbaijan through holistic institutional framework supported by research, bringing together all involved stakeholders (strategic partnerships), innovation and unique tourism experiences. Its vision is to develop Azerbaijan as a world class tourist destination, converting it into the most attractive and successful tourism destination in the region.
Azerbaijan is situated at the eastern side of the Transcaucasia (or South Caucasus) on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Historically a part of the Great Silk Road and situated at the crossroads of the geopolitical, economic and cultural interests of many nations and civilizations, Azerbaijan has, since ancient times, aroused the interests of great minds, scientists, travellers and historians. Azerbaijan has an amazing historical and cultural heritage with more than 7500 natural, archaeological, architectural, and historical monuments. Cave drawings at Gobustan, Momine-Khatun and Garabaghlar mausoleums, the Palace of Sheki Khans, the Maiden Tower, the castles of Absheron, medieval manuscripts decorated with magnificent miniature paintings, antique rugs, and works of literature, arts and sculpture – all of this is just a small part of the country’s rich and priceless heritage.
As an emerging tourism destination Azerbaijan offers a variety of travel experiences and ever-improving standards of service. Given the growing tourist interest, the number of rooms in local and international hotel chains is constantly increasing, while travellers can also overnight in everything from medieval caravanserais to guesthouses and farmstays.
Besides the many cultural and natural attractions and experiences, new tourism products are being developed such as a wine route, including visits and tastings at wineries and vineyards throughout the country, as well as adventure activities, hiking and sports tourism. Azerbaijan regularly hosts international multi-sport events, including the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which is held every year in Baku, the nation’s capital.
Azerbaijan’s fire worshipping heritage runs deep in the country’s ancient history but also reflects itself in its modern art, culture and even architecture. Dominating the skyline of Baku, the Flame Towers represent contemporary Azerbaijan – a new, ambitious country, developing and progressive, but still loyal to its roots and origins. Another modern architectural gem is the Heydar Aliyev Centre – a cultural hub where visitors can enjoy modern art, learn about Azerbaijani history and culture at permanent and temporary exhibitions and enjoy performances in the fabulous concert hall.
The country is easily accessible with over 40 direct flights across the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas, and its new visa-on-arrival offering with a simplified new electronic visa procedure adds to the convenience of visiting. Visas can now be obtained within three days. Since the introduction of electronic visas, the number of tourists coming from European countries has also increased dramatically.
Azerbaijan has set its sights on doubling the number of people visiting the country by 2023. To accomplish this it launched the ‘Take Another Look’ campaign in 2018 which invites travellers to come and unravel the nation’s hidden stories and secrets