THE Republic of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism was among the returning exhibitors at BITE 2008, and was promoting all aspects of the country including its natural beauty, cultural, religious and health tourism.
“Azerbaijan is a beautiful destination for tourists to come to at any time of year because there are four seasons – autumn, winter, summer and spring,” said Aliyeza Zohra, press secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
“Today tourism is important because only 15 years ago we became a free country. Now we are keen to promote its attributes, which include its seasonal variations, its good cuisine (Plov and Dolma are specialties from the region) and its hospitable friendly people,” she said. Last year more than one million tourists visit Azerbaijan, most of whom came Iran and Turkey followed by Europe, Pakistan, Egypt, Dubai and Japan.
There are a number of new resorts being built, and for the winter season the tourism body is promoting mountaineering, skiing and other and winter sports, especially mountain skiing in the Shemaha and Gusar regions. A new ski resort known as the Shahdagh Mountain Skiing Resort Project is currently being built on the Shahdagh Mountain in the Gusar and Guba regions, and Zohra is hoping this will attract skiiers from all over the world.
For the summer season the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was particularly keen on promoting nature tourism, as the country offers many scenic areas including forested regions such as on the slopes of the Talish mountains. Nabran is a popular resort in the Khachmaz region of Azerbaijan, and is located on the Caspian Sea on a forested area. Nabran offers tourists hotels and other accommodation, entertainment facilities and restaurants.