Azerbaijan's tourism model discussed in Baku

Azerbaijan's tourism model discussed in Baku

A round-table discussion of anti-crisis measures in the tourism market of Azerbaijan, organized by the Association of Hotels & Restaurants (DAIR), was held in Baku yesterday. The head of DAIR Samir Dubendi said that following the round-table a package of proposals with involvement of specialists in this area, marketers and appraisers for the submission of proposals to the President of Azerbaijan and relevant governmental agencies will be developed.

"In general, participants of the meeting covered such matters as the mandatory presence of low-cost airlines, simplification of the tax system and visa procedures, measures aimed at developing domestic tourism and and motivating business to the construction of economic class hotels, including hostels, and and holding regular retraining workshops for service personnel," cited him as saying.

The DAIR head noted that a very important measure for improvement of the quality and the volume of tourism services is the coordinated activity of hotels and travel agencies. "The approval of the proposed measures is important, given the fact that the domestic tourism sector is currently experiencing a period of stagnation. Significant results could be obtained in view of the existing conditions and the necessary support to the sector," Samir Dubendi stressed.

The head of Millennium Tourism & Congress DMC, President of Skal International Baku and founder of the Azerbaijan Medical & Thermal Tourism Association, Ruslan Guliyev, pointed out the necessity of state support for industry. "We offer at least temporary tax holidays for those who launch the construction of tourist facilities, especially economy class ones. We can also suggest differential taxation, in particular VAT exemption for companies engaged in incoming tourism," he said.

"Of course, we must not shift everything onto the state, we should take appropriate measures ourselves. For example, we can organize special tours for the price of $250 for 4 days and 3 nights and are ready to include in this amount the fee for foreign partners," Guliyev added.

"An important step towards the development and creation of the Azerbaijani tourism model may be the issue of special tourist subsidized loans at an annual rate of 1.5%. Such a measure was taken in Turkey, where in 10 years after the monitoring of the efficiency of those loans, they were pardoned due to premature payback," he said.

According to Ruslan Guliyev, 50% discounts from the basic price of air-tickets for travel agencies and governmental subsidies for promo-campaigns could be a great help for industry. In addition, active work should be carried out in collaboration with the heads of local executive authorities and municipalities, as tourism is a sphere with about 40 related areas, which means as a minimum the development of sales of souvenir products and development of agriculture against the background of ecological tourism.

He recalled that many hotels are in a difficult situation, because they can’t pay high rents and have to vacate the premises and reduce staff. "In order to solve all these problems it would be expedient to establish a special coordinating council for tourism with the participation of representatives of all government agencies and representatives of the tourism industry," Guliyev offered.

"The tourism sector of Azerbaijan is now in a terrible state, and if the necessary measures are not taken, then tourism will completely die in a couple of years," the head of Millennium Tourism & Congress DMC, the President of Skal International Baku and founder of the Azerbaijan Medical & Thermal Tourism Association stressed.