Russian tourists prefer Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan was the most visited by Russian tourists among the CIS countries in the first quarter of this year, overtaking Georgia, the agency TourStat said.
In total, 139 thousand tourists visits were made to Azerbaijan for the first three months of 2017, an increase by 31% compared to the same period last year. At the same time, Russians visited Georgia 135 thousand times, an increase by 27%.
In general, the outbound tourist flow of Russians increased by 24%: from 5.4 million visits last year to 6.7 million in the current year.
Senior Lecturer of the Department of Management and Business at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of RANEPA, Yevgeny Itsakov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that such a significant increase in tourist flow from Russia to Azerbaijan and Georgia was due to the changing perception of these countries by Russians. "Judging by the current trends, the Caucasian direction of outbound tourism has become fashionable," he explained.
"The active growth of this trend has started with Georgia, then Armenia and Azerbaijan joined in. Azerbaijan always showed good rates in terms of growth of the tourist flow, and Armenia slowed down at some point due to the fact that it does not have a sea. I think that statistics are more influenced by the psychological factor: people have learned that Azerbaijan and Georgia 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," Yevgeny Itsakov pointed out.
"Undoubtedly, Russian tourists are returning to traditional destinations - the Czech Republic and Spain, but on the other hand, they saw that there are wonderful Transcaucasian destinations. Besides, now the social networks are full of photos from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia," the senior Lecturer of the Department of Management and Business at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of RANEPA said.
Caucasian traditional hospitality is also important. "Caucasian hospitality, which is typical of the South Caucasus countries, is perceived by us as an unusual positive thing. The Caucasians would consider it a common thing, but it is very pleasant for us," Yevgeny Itsakov concluded.