Tourists from CIS states prefer Baku, Minsk and Astana in winter
Russia's agency TourStat presented the rating of most visited CIS cities during the 2018-2019 winter season.
The top-5 places include Minsk, Baku, Astana, Almaty, Tashkent. They are followed by Bishkek, Chisinau, Dushanbe, Ashgabat and Yerevan.
Trips to Belarus's ski resorts Lahoysk and Silichy, Azerbaijan's resorts Shahdag and Tufandag, and Kazakhstan's Shymbulak are the most popular among tourists from the CIS countries.
Uzbekistan and Moldova are famous for cheap winter tours, while Baku and Astana - for tours and shopping over the weekend.
According to TurStat, tourists visit the CIS cities and states for 3-7 days in winter.
Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Chairperson of the Commission on the Development of Public Diplomacy and Support for Compatriots Abroad Elena Sutormina, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza earlier, noted the high level of comfort of winter tourism in Azerbaijan. "It’s really great in Azerbaijan. And I think that the number of tourists will increase, because it has a very good infrastructure. In terms of prices, one can find really affordable options," she said.
The head of the Faculty of Entrepreneurship in Hospitality and Tourism of RANEPA, Irina Goncharova, in turn, stressed that Baku is an absolutely European city. "There is a very good cuisine there, it is unusual and very tasty, which also attracts our tourists. There are a lot of interesting sights in Baku. Wonderful films were shot in Baku, for example, The Diamond Arm. It is some kind of nostalgia to visit it. In general, the city is very beautiful, very clean, with very good, comfortable hotels, very good infrastructure, very beautiful waterfront," Irina Goncharova listed.
Senior Lecturer of the Department of Management and Business at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of RANEPA, Yevgeny Itsakov, explained such a significant increase in tourist flow to Baku was due to the changing perception of this country by Russians. "Judging by the current trends, the Caucasian direction of outbound tourism has become fashionable. Azerbaijan always showed good rates in terms of growth of the tourist flow, and I think that statistics are more influenced by the psychological factor: people have learned that Azerbaijan provide very modern conditions for recreation. Azerbaijan is an advanced state with a very beautiful, modern city of Baku, and having learned about this, people have decided to visit it," he concluded.