Tourism in Azerbaijan
Due to its geographical position, Azerbaijan is ahead of many countries in the world in the emergence and development of tourism.
The fact that our country is a gateway from Asia to Europe brings it to a very important position. The passage of the Silk Road from China to Europe through Azerbaijan has given impetus to tourism. In short, Azerbaijan's location on ancient caravan routes, favorable geographical location, and climatic conditions have allowed the formation of a large-scale trade in the area.
Baths, kahrizes, mosques, caravanserais for the convenience of traders have been built on the caravan routes, which are important in the regulation of economic relations. The caravanserais had caravan stop, hotel-type restrooms, separate places and stables for animals carrying travelers and goods, warehouses for storing trade goods, various shops, dining rooms, etc. At that time, caravanserais were built in various regions to ensure the safety of traders' caravans arriving in the country, as well as their stay. For centuries, caravanserais in large cities, especially on the Great Silk Road, have served as today's hotels.
During that period, caravanserais were divided into two groups - city and stopover caravanserais. The stopover caravanserais were more like a fortress. The stopover caravanserais with thick walls had one gate and were closed at night. The city caravanserais had two gates and were located at a closer distance. Thus the foundation of the First Hotel sector with caravanserais was laid.
In this field of trade, which lasted for many years, foreign merchants from different places both sold their products and bought what they needed from our country. Thanks to the Silk Road trade, the cities of Baku, Shamakhi, Shirvan, Ganja, Sheki were further developed and infrastructure was established to ensure the comfort of foreign traders.
In our modern times, these historical places are at the disposal of the visitors. It should be noted that due to the existing bans in the early twentieth century, the country's tourism was only of interest to travelers of neighboring countries, which came to Naftalan for the treatment most to take oil baths. However, this quantity of travelers was not enough.
The increase of oil production in the country and the price of oil on world markets have led to an increase in revenues. The revenues were used for the construction of better buildings in the country.
Tourism entered a new stage in Azerbaijan in the late twentieth century. It has been recognized as a lucrative business since the 1990s, and hotels have been built across the country. Today, the increase in the number of tourists visiting our country is 22-23% per year.
Visitors mainly visit Baku and the regions of our country. The vast majority of tourists prefer Gabala, Ismayilli, Guba, Gusar, Sheki, Lankaran regions. The reason for this, of course, is that the infrastructure in these areas is more favorable and the conditions are satisfactory for tourists. The vast majority of visitors to Baku are here for 2-3 night walks or business trips, and during their stay, they visit both the historic Old City and Gobustan.
Currently, the conditions are being further improved to attract such tourists and provide comfortable walking in other regions and even within Baku. International events held in our country (Eurovision, Zhara Music Festival, Pomegranate Festival, and sports competitions Formula 1, Baku European Games) further increase the interest of foreign guests in our country. Earlier, the vast majority of tourists came from neighboring Russia, but now this indicator has changed and covers the whole world.
As a result of the successes of our country, Azerbaijan is in the spotlight of the whole world. It receives tourists from different countries of the world, both in winter and in summer. As winter tourism, Shahdag and Tufandag complexes are the favorite places of our foreign guests. During the summer months, foreign visitors flock to our most remote mountain villages. Azerbaijan's wonderful nature, mountains, forests, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, the Caspian Sea, historical monuments create opportunities for competing with any tourist country in the world. Given that the 9 climate zones create various beauties in every corner of our country, it would be a shame not to see them while driving to our regions.
Unfortunately, the tourism potential of the Karabakh region, which is considered to be the pearl of Azerbaijan, has been neglected for almost 30 years. However, 28,000 tourists from 87 countries visited Karabakh during a year. They mainly went to see the cities of Kalbajar, Shusha, Zangilan, and Khankendi. According to the action plan for 2020, on the instructions of President Ilham Aliyev, a complete reconstruction will be carried out in Karabakh, and all cities and regions will be ready to welcome tourists from all over the world with a completely new look.
In general, if the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan was 1.5-2 million so far, then the new targets are set higher. The development of the tourism sector will stimulate the development of the State, create new jobs and allow certain areas to develop further.
A number of countries around the world, especially Turkey, the UAE, and Singapore, are making a lot of profit in the area of large-scale tourism flows. We must take into account that the tourism potential of Azerbaijan is much greater than in some countries, and we believe that it will soon be among the top 10 tourist countries in the world.