Baku- – Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) is proud to share the achievements and results of the past year, which have been marked by a strong focus on promoting country as year-round tourist destination. In 2022, Azerbaijan saw an active recovery in all main source markets as the number of arrivals increased significantly compared to previous year. From January to November 2022, Azerbaijan welcomed 1,459,000 international visitors which is 111% more in comparison to the same period of 2021. Among top 15 visiting countries were Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, United Arab Emirates, Germany and UK, along with other neighboring countries.
“These achievements are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the tourism industry of Azerbaijan, and contribution of all stakeholders. Although the numbers are around 50% below the level of 2019, some countries and regions show as high as 99% recovery rate,” – said Florian Sengstschmid, Chief Executive Officer of ATB. “3 countries among top 15 show very high recovery rate, such as Turkiye -98% recovery, Saudi Arabia- 91% recovery, and India – 90% recovery. Overall South Asia market shows 99% recovery,” he added.
In 2022, Azerbaijan was represented in 16 global trade and consumer exhibitions and shows, demonstrating its diverse tourism offerings. These events provided an opportunity to build awareness about Azerbaijan as a touristic destination, reach a wider audience, and establish relationships with key industry players. In addition to these events, international bloggers and media representative, as well as operators and tour agencies visited Azerbaijan within the framework of familiarization trips.
During the year of 2022 ATB worked on diversifying the product portfolio of the country. One of such projects is Slow Food Travel (SFT) program, which ATB implements for honouring and preservation of the age-old cooking methods and products that are in danger of extinction. We have been connecting hundreds of local producers, farmers, butchers, beekeepers, cheese and winemakers with restaurants and hotel chains, and contributing to the promotion of sustainable travel with positive impact on economic regeneration. With the increased interest in ecotourism, ATB has been actively developing birdwatching in the country. Azerbaijan has recorded 400 species of birds, and has an advantage of short distances between birdwatching sites. Practice of birdwatching once again demonstrates the uniqueness of landscapes and habitats in Azerbaijan, which we take as one of the essentials of our tourism strategy. The focus on the development of local wine industry established Azerbaijan as one of the thriving viticultural centres in the region. To celebrate its contribution to promoting viticulture, winemaking, and wine tourism, ATB has been granted with a number of prizes by the Council of Europe and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.
Furthermore, institutionalization and networking within the local tourism industry continued to be a priority. In 2022, the State Tourism Agency continued its activities towards formulation and implementation of a unified state policy in the field of tourism, the implementation of norm-setting activities in the field of tourism, as well as state regulation, control and coordination of activities for the development of tourism.
As part of domestic tourism development, tremendous progress has been made in evaluating and developing the tourism potential of the liberated territories in Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur. The restoration and conservation works have been implemented at important national attractions in the realm of the protection and sustainable management of national heritage. In 2022 an extensive infrastructure update work in heritage sites, such as Sheki, Basgal, Khinalig, and Diribaba complex was conducted.