Russian tourists fall in love with Azerbaijan
The highest number of foreign citizens who visited Azerbaijan came from Russia (31.9%), Georgia (29.1%), Turkey (15.2%) and Iran (7.5%), the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee said.
The number of foreign tourists visiting the country during the first six months of 2015 amounted to 973.5 thousand people: Russia (310.7 thousand), Georgia (283.4 thousand), Turkey (148,2 thousand), Iran (72.8 thousand), Ukraine (27.2 thousand), United Kingdom (19.4 thousand), Kazakhstan (12 5 thousand), Germany (7.8 thousand), USA (6,5 thousand) and other countries (85 thousand citizens), 1news.az reports.
The vice president of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Ilya Umansky, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the influx of Russian tourists to Azerbaijan this year is primarily due to the fact that it is the most populous neighbor of Azerbaijan.
"It is also the process of forming the image of Azerbaijan, which is observed in Russia. This happened after the Eurovision and the First European Games, after which many tour operators began to promote this direction," the vice president ATOR said.
"Certainly, Baku rose strongly in recent years from the point of view of tourist attraction. The tourists visit it to see a beautiful city and to improve health in the nearby resorts. We can say that the appeal of the tourism in Baku is gaining momentum today," Umansky said.
The vice president of ATOP said that the availability of transport has become a positive factor for retaining and increasing the flow of tourists.
Ilya Umansky said that Baku has opened up in a new format. "We conducted promotional tours in Baku several times, brought our colleagues, employees of travel agencies, which could send tourists there," the vice-president of ATOR noted.
"Azerbaijan is one of the few post-Soviet states where Russian tourists are long-awaited guests. It's about the historical relations of our peoples and traditional Caucasian hospitality. Of course, it is not Turkey and Egypt, but if we talk about the 'near-abroad', now Azerbaijan is one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists," the expert believes.
"And the important political and economic background, which is now being played out around Russia, has complemented the overall picture. After all, our citizens are largely refused to travel to Europe and have started to increase the number of visits to states whose spirit is close to Russia," Ilya Umansky concluded.