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Azerbaijan developing tourism concept for 2020-2025

Azerbaijan developing tourism concept for 2020-2025

Economy
09 July 2020, 13:47 256
At the next stage, a business plan must be developed for the restoration and development of tourism
 
Tourism is one of the areas most affected by the pandemic. International tourism is virtually at zero levels, and the crisis in this area is global. If we compare the statistics of foreign citizens visiting Azerbaijan in May of this year with the same period in 2019, we can see a 90 percent decrease. Compared to last year, the number of trips in domestic tourism decreased to 1 million, the share of tourism in the formation of GDP fell from 2.6 percent to 1.7 percent, reported the State Tourism Agency.
According to the agency, in general, the distinctive feature of the tourism industry from other sectors of the economy is that due to the known problem the world faces, it will not be possible to change the situation in this area for the better in a short time.
How long it will take to eliminate the losses in the post-pandemic period? What measures do we need to take?

 
 
Elchin Rustamov, head of the "New Era” tourism company, said that a business plan should be prepared for the next 3-5 years. "The change in the percentage is normal for the current period, as entry and exit to the country are suspended. In other words, tourism companies are now fighting a life-and-death battle. Some companies have been able to keep their staff by paying a certain part of their salaries. However, new companies that do not have sufficient financial resources have laid off 90 percent of their staff. This trend is observed not only in our country but in many countries around the world. At present, several countries are working to restore tourism, not to develop it. I think that our country will gradually take steps in this direction. If we want to increase the statistics, all the facilities that provide services in the tourism industry should unite. That is, it is not a matter of one or two hotels or a travel agency. Serious steps must be taken, and new concepts must be developed. A 3-5-year business plan should be developed for tourism companies, under which both government agencies and private companies should fulfill their obligations,” he said.
 

 
According to the Director of the Azerbaijan Tourism Association, Ahmad Gurbanov, the concept has been developed and includes the development of domestic tourism in 2020-2025. "Currently, tourism is at a standstill around the world. The same situation is observed in our country. Therefore, it is normal to have a decrease in these figures. Of course, we are looking for ways out of the difficult situation, but, unfortunately, the pandemic does not allow us to do anything in this direction. Given the restricted movement and closed borders, we cannot talk not only about inbound and outbound tourism but also about domestic tourism. But we try to be optimistic. We think that at the next stage, we will take the necessary steps for the development of the industry together with tourism companies, hotels, in general, all the institutions that provide services in this area. Of course, in the post-pandemic period, tourism will develop again. But this development will not be easy. At least one year will be a period of self-recovery for tourism. We need to address some issues. For example, internal routes need to open, borders need to gradually open, and people need to overcome the psychological barrier of the pandemic. In other words, people need to restore their previous desire to travel, and they need to believe that the virus is over, and there is no danger, which applies to both tourists coming to and leaving our country. If we consider that the borders will be opened at a later stage, we are working for the development of domestic tourism. In this regard, as the Azerbaijan Tourism Association, we have developed a concept, which includes the development of domestic tourism in 2020-2025. Tourism companies are also reviewing their marketing efforts and working on new concepts, which will be serious support for them to resume their work in the post-pandemic period,” he said.
 
"Only if we are sure that the virus has completely disappeared, it is possible for the borders to gradually open,” said the director, noting that from now on, tourism will enter a new phase. "In general, an increase of 2.6 percent in the previous period was acceptable. But this is not the end. True, the percentage has fallen, but we can raise it even higher in the next stage. I think that in the post-pandemic period, the percentage will be higher than we expected. The tourism sector gained experience in the pandemic. I think that if such an event occurs in the future, we will be prepared for such force majeure, and the losses will not be at this level. But now our job is to keep tourism alive. In particular, we are trying to prevent staff losses. Because we will need the personnel in the development of tourism in the future,” he said.
 
Gunel Azade