On April 4, the 18th Azerbaijan International Travel and Tourism Fair, AITF 2019, kicked off at Baku Expo Centre. The event is organised by Iteca Caspian.
The official opening ceremony of the exhibition was attended by the chairman of the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan, Fuad Naghiyev, the chairman of the Small and Medium Business Development Agency, Orkhan Mammadov, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Hotels Association Mr Martin Kleinmann, the head of the International Relations Department at the State Tourism Development Agency, Jamila Talibzade, the president of CJSC ‘Azerbaijan Airlines’ Jahangir Asgerov, and the Regional Director of Caspian Event Organisers, Mr Edward Strachan.
The Regional Director of Caspian Event Organisers, Mr Edward Strachan, welcomed guests and participants of the exhibition, and noted that the holding of exhibitions is an important direction for the development of business tourism, ‘We hold 14 exhibitions a year,’ says Mr Strachan, ‘and last year 9,000 foreign visitors visited our exhibitions. This year AITF 2019 has welcomed 189 companies and organisations from 17 countries of the world. With the support of their national travel agencies and embassies, national groups from Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, the Dominican Republic, Italy, China, Morocco, Thailand, Turkey and the Czech Republic have joined the exhibition. Rogaška Slatina (Slovenia), the Stavropol Territory (Russia), the collective stand of Odessa, Truskovets and Lvov (Ukraine), and Izmir (Turkey) are participating with their regional stands. For the first time, Maku Free Trade Zone from Iran is represented at the exhibition with a regional stand. In order to stand out among the participating countries and more clearly present their direction, the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic has decided to sponsor the AITF 2019.
Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan, Fuad Naghiyev, said that tourism is one of the priorities of the state economy. ‘As of last year, the solution of tasks in the area of tourism has been entrusted to our Agency,’ he says. Speaking about the activities of the Agency, F. Naghiyev stressed the relevance of all initiatives related to the development and promotion of domestic tourism on an international scale. We support projects for the presentation of the tourism potential of Azerbaijan, and the exhibition is just such an important event.
Chairman of the Small and Medium Business Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Orkhan Mammadov, noted that the AITF has become a promising platform for demonstrating the tourism sector. In a new business environment, healthy competition is created between countries that are struggling to attract tourists. The main purpose of this movement is making a profit, creating new jobs and attracting the inflow of foreign currencies into our country. The Agency is actively engaged in creating conditions for the development of small and medium-sized businesses in the field of tourism. Joint activities of representatives of public and private structures aimed at further improving the hospitality industry.
The Chairman of the Association of Hotels of Azerbaijan, Mr Martin Kleinmann, spoke about the activities of his organisation and wished success to all exhibitors.
The head of the Department of International Relations of the State Tourism Development Agency, Jamila Talibzadeh, read out a letter from the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, who emphasized the positive significance of the Azerbaijani exhibition.
Traditionally, the exhibition gathered representatives of the tourist market from various countries, national and regional tourist organisations and government agencies on its site. The AITF has focused on outgoing and incoming tourism, as well as on the development of event tourism, the MICE industry.
Held under the slogan ‘The whole world. One exhibition,’ the AITF exhibition plays an important role in representing Azerbaijan as an attractive destination. The renewed tourism brand of Azerbaijan is represented by this year’s debutant, Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau. A wide range of proposals for tourism both in Azerbaijan and abroad is reflected in the exposition of the Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AZTA), which has brought together travel companies, hotels and sanatoriums from Azerbaijan at its stand.
As in previous years, the exhibition presents educational tourism, sports tourism, information technology in tourism, hunting and fishing. Sanatoriums, health centres of Bulgaria, Belarus, Russia (Stavropol Territory), Slovenia (Rogaška Slatina), the Czech Republic and other countries participate in the special sector Medical and Health Tourism.
By the Order of President Ilham Aliyev, the year 2019 has been declared the Year of Nasimi in Azerbaijan, and the theme of this great poet’s creativity is extensively represented at the exhibition.