Azerbaijan Plans to Apply New System of Counting Tourists

Baku / 12.09.18 / Turan: According to the report of the World Tourism Organization, in 2017, Azerbaijan was visited by 2 million 454 thousand tourists, which is 0.4% more than in 2016.

According to the same report, the country's income from tourism amounted to 3 billion 012 million US dollars, which is 0.6% more than in 2016.

However, the figures of domestic statistics differ sharply from the world indexes. According to the State Statistics Committee, Azerbaijan was visited by 2 million 969 thousand tourists in 2017 and by 2 million 248 thousand in 2016.

According to sources in the tourism sector, foreigners spent AZN 3 billion 100 million in 2017 and AZN 2 billion 700 million in 2016.

We believe that such a difference in figures arose due to the fact that the World Tourism Organization indicated the same data in dollars, and not in manat.

A representative of the State Tourism Agency Kenan Guluzadeh in an interview with Turan noted that it would be more correct to take into account the added value of tourism revenues in the country's GDP structure.

So, according to him, in 2016 and 2017, the added value of tourism revenues was 4.6% of GDP.

At the same time, he noted that work is underway in Azerbaijan to apply a new system for counting incoming tourists.

"For example, according to statistics, in 2017, the country was visited by 2 million 700 thousand people. We believe that out of this number 2 million 450 thousand people had a tourist interest in the country. "

He noted that at present Azerbaijan counts the number of tourists according to world standards, according to which every person who crosses the border of the country and who has spent 24 hours in the country is considered a tourist. However, in his opinion, this statistics can be misleading, as is the case with tourists from Russia or Georgia.

"According to the data, 30% of the tourists are Russian citizens. However, one should take into account that among the citizens of Russia there are also Azerbaijanis who come here to visit their relatives and accordingly do not use tourist services and do not contribute to the formation of added value of tourism in GDP. "

According to him, in addition to the direct added value from tourism, which consists of living in hotels, visiting tourist places, and eating in restaurants, there are indirect ones, which are much larger.

"Currently we are working on a new strategy, through which we will apply a new system of accurate counting of tourists. For this, both local and foreign experts are involved. The main question is which figures we should take as a basis."

Guluzadeh noted that the work is at the final stage and a new tourism brand of Baku and Azerbaijan in general will be presented in the near future, which will include the tourism strategy.

According to him, it is planned to develop strategies both for certain types of tourist services and for specific countries.

"All this will serve to get accurate data about tourists visiting Azerbaijan and about the incomes that the country receives from tourism," Guluzadeh said. -71D-

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