Abulfas Garayev: “The Russian tourist feels more comfortable in Azerbaijan”

Abulfas Garayev: “The Russian tourist feels more comfortable in Azerbaijan”

Moscow has hosted the world’s first elite tourism exhibition, the Conde Nast Traveller Luxury Travel Fair. 139 companies from all over the world are taking part in the exhibition. Azerbaijan is represented by the tourism companies Gilan Tourism, İmprotex Travel, Khazar Travel and the hotels Absheron Hotel Group, Caspian Sea Resort Hotel, Chinar Hotel and Spa Naftalan, Divan Express Baku, Excelsior Hotel and Spa Baku.


The Azerbaijani delegation is headed by Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev. In an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, he has described the tourism potential of Azerbaijan.


- There are many participants at the Conde Nast Traveller exhibition, what distinguishes Azerbaijan from the rest?


- The exhibition has a principle value for us, because we have become its guests for the first time. We are very pleased that the exhibition dedicated to the high segment of luxury tourism reflects the interest of Azerbaijan to attract the tourism stream to our country. Azerbaijan has recently appeared on the world tourism map. We started serious work on tourism only 10-12 years ago, but we have made a breakthrough in creating a new image of the country throughout the years. For that, the country is realizing enormous innovative projects related to creation of infrastructure. The sector is patronized by the president of the country personally.

 

Tourism is part of the list of six basic trends of the country’s economy that should become an alternative energy. We are trying to diversify the economic element, and tourism, as it develops, starts to play a bigger and bigger role. Azerbaijan is not just a country of oil and gas, it is also the Land of Fire, which is a forefather of oil and gas. We have great potential, starting with historical monuments and ending with the modern architectural buildings and constructions of recent years.

 

In the last ten years, our country has built de luxe hotels of all categories, of all names and brands. We have fully reconstructed the road infrastructure. Azerbaijan has seven international airports that allow destinations to be reached very fast.

 

Special attention is paid to modernization and diversification of the tourism product. Five years ago, we only started dreaming about it, and today, Azerbaijan has mountain skiing resorts that many tourists are attracted to. Our winter tourism complexes are distinguished by their high level, they concentrate four-five-star hotels.

 

We are interested in tourists that have traditionally been arriving from Russia. Russian tourism has always been an essential element of Azerbaijani international tourism. Traditional organization-level ties, friendly contacts, generic ties, commercial ties, cultural ties play a very important role.

 

Today, we represent modern Azerbaijan with its historical heritage and cultural past to the new, modern, tech-advanced, free-oriented stream of information, the Internet, the potential tourist that may choose different tours, different forms of recreation.

 

Maybe you have seen the advertisements we show on Russian television related to corporate, gastronomic tours in Baku. Azerbaijani cuisine has gained great popularity and respect in the CIS space.

 

For instance, our participation in the exhibition is quite logical. We are interested in a qualitative and quantitative rise of tourists visiting our country. And we do a lot to make the Russian tourist feel comfortable there, especially when we have practically no linguistic barrier, almost everyone speaks the Russian language.

 

The traditional ties of hospitality between our countries need new development. I think we will be regular guests at tourism exhibitions in Russia. Traditionally, we participate in the MITT, in Moscow exhibitions, in regions. Conde Nast Traveller is of special interest to us, because we see the development of Azerbaijani tourism in the slightly-above-average segment. This trend is a prerogative for us, and we will continue our work.

- Baku is hosting the first European Games in the summer. Are any tourism products related to the event being prepared?


- Doubtlessly, we are preparing very seriously. Simultaneously with the European Games, the sports aspect, a big cultural program will be launched to reflect the culture of our country, involving many foreign cultural figures. We are preparing special exhibitions in recently reconstructed museums. All theaters of Azerbaijan, cities in Baku will be supplied with special systems allowing performances to be watched with English and Russian translations.

 

Azerbaijan also has special tours presenting objects included on the UNESCO list of world heritage. There are tours to Gobustan, and the old city, there are special carpet tours, special kalaghai tours, special tours on musical traditions – mugham, ashugham – which will definitely give an opportunity to perceive and feel the spirit of our country during the Games. We are preparing very seriously. I think that it would be interesting for everyone visiting Azerbaijan to feel the spirit of the modern city with its traditions and simultaneously take part in sports competitions.

 

- I think everything will be fine, judging by how well Azerbaijan held Eurovision. What impact did it have on the tourism flow?


- Eurovision stimulated interest and the tourism stream post-factum. It went like an echo, people saw what was happening, how it was happening. Of course, Eurovision is a one-week, a five-day contest. There were not that many lucky people in those five days who arrived, who could afford it.

 

Concerning the games, it is a more democratic element, there is another segment – the fans. I think that regular broadcasts of sports events, advertisements of Azerbaijan in the mass media during the Games stimulates second, third, fourth streams of the tourism wave. We are not waiting for five million to arrive for the Games alone. It will happen gradually.

 

- Is the main mass of tourists Russians or foreigners?

 

- Russian tourism is one of the main components in the stream of visitors to Azerbaijan. In the last 10 years the number of tourists has always been rising. The fact that Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit Azerbaijan, like Azerbaijani citizens to Russia, played a great role. There are no barriers.

 

Unfortunately, last year a small reduction in the tourism flow happened, but it was related to the common economic downturn all over the region, so there is nothing to be surprised at. Our goal is to attract potential tourists that can get the services they no longer need to find far away today.

 

- Is the below-average segment uninteresting to Azerbaijan?

 

- We will start focusing on the medium and below segment after the Games. We are stimulating construction of three-star hotels, a serious sector related to health tourism, which is traditionally advanced – Naftalan, waters, balneological tourism. The medium and below segment will be considered in the future. Because we cannot objectively compete with the volume of tourism services offered by Turkey or Greece, where a huge number of tourism complexes exist. The content aspect is more important for us, but, no doubt, we are approaching the moment when tourism starts playing a bigger role in the economic element, and this is where the de luxe tourism segment cannot be satisfying alone, doors need to open for the medium and below-medium.

 

- In the game quality, not quantity, has its own advantages.


- So far, we have been playing for quality. Hopefully, it will grow into quantity.

Moscow has hosted the world’s first elite tourism exhibition, the Conde Nast Traveller Luxury Travel Fair. 139 companies from all over the world are taking part in the exhibition. Azerbaijan is represented by the tourism companies Gilan Tourism, İmprotex Travel, Khazar Travel and the hotels Absheron Hotel Group, Caspian Sea Resort Hotel, Chinar Hotel and Spa Naftalan, Divan Express Baku, Excelsior Hotel and Spa Baku.The Azerbaijani delegation is headed by Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev. In an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, he has described the tourism potential of Azerbaijan.- There are many participants at the Conde Nast Traveller exhibition, what distinguishes Azerbaijan from the rest?- The exhibition has a principle value for us, because we have become its guests for the first time. We are very pleased that the exhibition dedicated to the high segment of luxury tourism reflects the interest of Azerbaijan to attract the tourism stream to our country. Azerbaijan has recently appeared on the world tourism map. We started serious work on tourism only 10-12 years ago, but we have made a breakthrough in creating a new image of the country throughout the years. For that, the country is realizing enormous innovative projects related to creation of infrastructure. The sector is patronized by the president of the country personally.Tourism is part of the list of six basic trends of the country’s economy that should become an alternative energy. We are trying to diversify the economic element, and tourism, as it develops, starts to play a bigger and bigger role. Azerbaijan is not just a country of oil and gas, it is also the Land of Fire, which is a forefather of oil and gas. We have great potential, starting with historical monuments and ending with the modern architectural buildings and constructions of recent years.In the last ten years, our country has built de luxe hotels of all categories, of all names and brands. We have fully reconstructed the road infrastructure. Azerbaijan has seven international airports that allow destinations to be reached very fast.Special attention is paid to modernization and diversification of the tourism product. Five years ago, we only started dreaming about it, and today, Azerbaijan has mountain skiing resorts that many tourists are attracted to. Our winter tourism complexes are distinguished by their high level, they concentrate four-five-star hotels.We are interested in tourists that have traditionally been arriving from Russia. Russian tourism has always been an essential element of Azerbaijani international tourism. Traditional organization-level ties, friendly contacts, generic ties, commercial ties, cultural ties play a very important role.Today, we represent modern Azerbaijan with its historical heritage and cultural past to the new, modern, tech-advanced, free-oriented stream of information, the Internet, the potential tourist that may choose different tours, different forms of recreation.Maybe you have seen the advertisements we show on Russian television related to corporate, gastronomic tours in Baku. Azerbaijani cuisine has gained great popularity and respect in the CIS space.For instance, our participation in the exhibition is quite logical. We are interested in a qualitative and quantitative rise of tourists visiting our country. And we do a lot to make the Russian tourist feel comfortable there, especially when we have practically no linguistic barrier, almost everyone speaks the Russian language.The traditional ties of hospitality between our countries need new development. I think we will be regular guests at tourism exhibitions in Russia. Traditionally, we participate in the MITT, in Moscow exhibitions, in regions. Conde Nast Traveller is of special interest to us, because we see the development of Azerbaijani tourism in the slightly-above-average segment. This trend is a prerogative for us, and we will continue our work.- Baku is hosting the first European Games in the summer. Are any tourism products related to the event being prepared?- Doubtlessly, we are preparing very seriously. Simultaneously with the European Games, the sports aspect, a big cultural program will be launched to reflect the culture of our country, involving many foreign cultural figures. We are preparing special exhibitions in recently reconstructed museums. All theaters of Azerbaijan, cities in Baku will be supplied with special systems allowing performances to be watched with English and Russian translations.Azerbaijan also has special tours presenting objects included on the UNESCO list of world heritage. There are tours to Gobustan, and the old city, there are special carpet tours, special kalaghai tours, special tours on musical traditions – mugham, ashugham – which will definitely give an opportunity to perceive and feel the spirit of our country during the Games. We are preparing very seriously. I think that it would be interesting for everyone visiting Azerbaijan to feel the spirit of the modern city with its traditions and simultaneously take part in sports competitions.- I think everything will be fine, judging by how well Azerbaijan held Eurovision. What impact did it have on the tourism flow?- Eurovision stimulated interest and the tourism stream post-factum. It went like an echo, people saw what was happening, how it was happening. Of course, Eurovision is a one-week, a five-day contest. There were not that many lucky people in those five days who arrived, who could afford it.Concerning the games, it is a more democratic element, there is another segment – the fans. I think that regular broadcasts of sports events, advertisements of Azerbaijan in the mass media during the Games stimulates second, third, fourth streams of the tourism wave. We are not waiting for five million to arrive for the Games alone. It will happen gradually.- Is the main mass of tourists Russians or foreigners?- Russian tourism is one of the main components in the stream of visitors to Azerbaijan. In the last 10 years the number of tourists has always been rising. The fact that Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit Azerbaijan, like Azerbaijani citizens to Russia, played a great role. There are no barriers.Unfortunately, last year a small reduction in the tourism flow happened, but it was related to the common economic downturn all over the region, so there is nothing to be surprised at. Our goal is to attract potential tourists that can get the services they no longer need to find far away today.- Is the below-average segment uninteresting to Azerbaijan?- We will start focusing on the medium and below segment after the Games. We are stimulating construction of three-star hotels, a serious sector related to health tourism, which is traditionally advanced – Naftalan, waters, balneological tourism. The medium and below segment will be considered in the future. Because we cannot objectively compete with the volume of tourism services offered by Turkey or Greece, where a huge number of tourism complexes exist. The content aspect is more important for us, but, no doubt, we are approaching the moment when tourism starts playing a bigger role in the economic element, and this is where the de luxe tourism segment cannot be satisfying alone, doors need to open for the medium and below-medium.- In the game quality, not quantity, has its own advantages.- So far, we have been playing for quality. Hopefully, it will grow into quant

5580 views





Populars