Azerbaijan witnesses 80% growth in Indian tourists; conducts three-city roadshow in India

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Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) recently held a three-city roadshow from September 9 to 13 in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The event brought together key travel industry leaders in the region to build valuable connections between the countries.

Ashraf Shikhaliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to India, officials from the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, led by CEO, Florian Sengstschmid and Nazim Samadov, Deputy Director Executive of Azerbaijan Airlines/Buta Airways Director attended the roadshow. The roadshow gave the Indian trade partners and travel agents an opportunity to learn about the diverse experiences that Azerbaijan has to offer. Similar setups took place in Mumbai and Bengaluru, with delegates interacting with over 900 Indian retail partners including tour operators, travel agents, cruise specialists, wedding planners and MICE representatives.

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.

This follows the launch of ATB’s marketing campaign ‘Take another look’ which encourages travellers to discover Azerbaijan’s hidden gems and aims to double current inbound tourism by 2023.

“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 Ashraf Shikhaliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to India.

Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board commented, “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 promotions are a 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.”

Nazim Samadov, Deputy Director Executive of Azerbaijan Airlines/Buta Airways Director said, “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.”