Azeri govt drafting new tourism law

Azeri govt drafting new tourism law

Changes will be made to Azerbaijan’s law on tourism and relevant talks with the World Tourism Organization (WTO) are yielding positive results, the tourism minister has said.

“The tourism law should have long-term effect. In this regard we have held negotiations with the WTO and their experts have studied a preliminary version of the bill,” Abulfaz Garayev told journalists.

The bill was developed taking into account the experts’ recommendations and again submitted to the WTO, the minister said.

“We believe the bill is to become the most advanced tourism legislation worldwide. We hope it will be submitted [to parliament] for consideration next year,” Garayev added.

The bill targets improving tourism services and developing tourism infrastructure in the country, Intigam Humbatov, a spokesman for the ministry, told AzerNews.

The initiative to amend the domestic tourism law was expressed on the ministry’s website a few months ago and was open for opinions from experts, scholars and the public. The bill was drafted based on these views, Humbatov said.

Minister Garayev said earlier that the work being done in the domestic tourism sector drives tourist flow into Azerbaijan.

“Some 30 hotels were built and commissioned last year, and 45 more hotels are being constructed,” he noted.

In recent years Azerbaijan greatly improved its tourism infrastructure due to the opening of such major hotels as JW Marriott Absheron, Four Seasons, Jumeirah, Sheraton, Hilton, Kempinski, etc. in the country.

The number of foreign visitors coming to Azerbaijan exceeded 2 million for the first time last year. The country welcomed 2.239 million visitors, which is 14 percent more than in 2010.

As many as 508 hotels are currently operating in Azerbaijan. The number of tourists staying in the hotels, 50 percent of whom are foreign citizens, increased 16.3 percent as compared to 2010.

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