Thursday, March 23, 2023

Azerbaijan unveil its unique tourism offerings at ITB Berlin 2023

Azerbaijan is set to participate in ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, which will take place from March 7th to 9th, 2023. Together with 14 industry partners, including Azerbaijan Airlines, Azerbaijan Hotel Association, Absheron Hotel Group, range of hotels and tourism agencies, Azerbaijan Tourism Board is presenting myriads of travel experiences – from hiking and lush nature to best wellness resorts, and from emerging award winning wine experiences to delicious traditional cuisine.

“We are thrilled to participate in ITB Berlin and to have the opportunity to promote Azerbaijan’s tourism potential to such a diverse and influential audience. 2022 has been an exceptional year, Azerbaijan saw an active recovery in all main source markets as the number of arrivals increased significantly compared to previous year. In 2022, Azerbaijan welcomed 1,602,600 international visitors which is 103% more in comparison to the same period of 2021,” said Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board.

“We look forward to meeting with tour operators, travel agents, media representatives, and other key stakeholders to discuss potential partnerships and to showcase our latest offerings.”

Apart from all these experiences, as a destination launch partner of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) “Hotel Sustainability Basics” project, Azerbaijan will host the Launch Celebration at the destination’s National Stand on March 7th. The event will be attended by the WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson along with other industry representatives. The project aims to address hotels and help them reduce their environmental impact, serving as a coordinated set of basic actions which aim to assist hotels in stepping on their sustainable journey.

 “The Basics are an important add-on to Azerbaijan’s sustainable tourism development strategy. We are committed to prioritize sustainability throughout the entire value chain and customer journey. We take pride in being a country partner of this initiative and pledge to continue our efforts in promoting responsible tourism practices. Our mission is to care for the country’s intangible and tangible resources for future generations to enjoy, and a tourism industry, that benefits both visitors and hosts alike,” said Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board.

In 2022, Azerbaijan saw an active recovery in all markets and welcomed 1,602,600 international visitors which is 103 per cent more in comparison to the same period of 2021. The needs of today’s travelers are met by the availability of a wide range of modern amenities, such as world-class hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres. The country boasts a wealth of attractions, including the UNESCO-listed Old City of Baku, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, and the ancient Silk Road. The focus on the development of local wine industry established Azerbaijan as one of the thriving and award winning viticultural centres in the region and number of prizes by the Council of Europe, and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

Sustainable tourism experiences have been a big part of ATB’s strategy in a way to suit the expectations of modern travelers, as well as focusing on preservation and reinforcement of the existing resources of Azerbaijan. One of such projects is Slow Food Travel (SFT), implemented for honoring and preservation of the age-old cooking methods and products that are in danger of extinction. The project was launched in 2021 in the northwest of Azerbaijan and will be expanded to the south of the country in 2023. Tourists can have this authentic experience, getting acquainted with about 60 local partners and their products, merging into gastronomic experience and day-to-day life in Azerbaijan.

Another sustainable tourism experience – birdwatching – has been in the centre of attention here in Azerbaijan. The destination has recorded some 400 species of birds, and advantage of short distances between birdwatching sites. It brings the value of understanding the benefits of local recourses and how much more it can give back to the community if properly conserved.  

The legacy of the legendary Silk Road is notable in Sheki and the small mountain village of Basgal. The village is known for preserving the tradition of making ‘kelaghayi’, which is the traditional Azerbaijani silk headscarf. The renovation of Basqal has brought a range of benefits to the local community, including new job opportunities, preservation of cultural heritage, support for local businesses, and improvement in the quality of life. The village has become a model for sustainable tourism in Azerbaijan and a source of pride for the local community.

For a true nomadic experience, one should follow the route to the village of Khinalig, located on a mountain top 2,350 m above sea level in the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The fire temple and mosques from the 12th and 15th centuries, as well as other local shrines, create unique scenery which is topped up with scenic mountain views.

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