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9th Azerbaijan International
Travel and Tourism Fair

Post show Release


The 9th Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair (AITF) opened on 28 April at the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Concert Complex. The show is officially supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Azerbaijan Tourism Association, and the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs’ (Employers’) Organisation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Partners for the exhibition included Azerfon-Vodafone, Paşa Sığorta, Caspel, SIAR, KREA and Ñaucas Point Hotel.

AITF 2010 will be remembered as contributing to a new era in Azerbaijan’s tourism industry.  President Ilham Aliyev, accompanied by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Abulfaz Garayev, toured the exhibition and visited regional stands, which demonstrated exciting new travel opportunities throughout Azerbaijan.  The President took particular interest in the stands of the Stavropol Territory, Turkey, Greece, India and Egypt.  The President received a commemorative gift from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s stand.

Other important guests at the exhibition included the Governor of the Stavropol Region, the General Secretary of the Greek Office of Tourism and Culture, the Head of the Indian Tourism Organisation and representatives from the embassies of Greece, India, Turkey, Russia and other countries that participated in the exhibition.

The exhibition’s slogan was ‘Visit the world at AITF’ and its significance for the industry was confirmed by a 20% increase in size and the participation of 179 companies from 24 countries.  In total, 33 destinations were represented at the event, including Austria, Belarus, China, Germany, Italy, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Ukraine, France and Switzerland.  14 countries had national group stand at the event, including regular exhibitors such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Malaysia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the Czech Republic, as well as newcomers including Egypt, India, Italy (Lazio Region, Rome), Mauritius, the UAE and Russia.

Turkey was AITF’s first partner country this year and a number of events were organised for both visitors and exhibitors, including a raffle for holidays and a performance by a Turkish folk group.  Dr. Aytekin Yilmaz, Counsellor for Cultural and Information Affairs of the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan, commented, “In terms of presenting our country’s tourism potential, we believe the Caucasus and Central Asia are immensely important and very promising.  Of course, from this viewpoint, Azerbaijan is the most profitable and stable choice of partner.  This is why, for the second year, we are participating in AITF.  This was the first time that we participated as partner country”.

One of the major attractions at this year’s event was a programme of activities organised by the large tour operators seeking to combine the benefits of outbound tourism with the potential for inbound tourism.  Director of the National Tourist Office of the Czech Republic, Pavel Franek, was keen to cooperate with Azerbaijan, “We seek a permanent partnership with your country to increase the flow of tourists not only from Azerbaijan to the Czech Republic, but also from the Czech Republic to Azerbaijan”.

An exotic experience entitled ‘Island Paradise’ was presented by companies from Malaysia, the Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Thailand.  The Stavropol stand promoted trips to resorts such as Yessentuki, Zheleznovodsk, Kislovodsk, Mineral Waters and Pyatiqorsk, which are famous for their unique treatments.  For the first time, Russian tour operators offered tours in St. Petersburg.  Ukrainian companies also took part in the exhibition, offering not only the Black Sea resorts, but also the spa resorts in Truskavetsk and other cities.

Gamigaya has a large stand which immediately attracted visitors’ attention, offering national beverages, amusing songs and live music.  Some visitors were even tempted to dance.  The demonstration was energising and left visitors with a positive feeling.  Visitors really felt they were abroad.

Egypt and Istanbul presented grand and attractive stands, inspired by palace gates, that welcomed visitors.  Meanwhile, Thailand, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, Georgia and India competed on the sheer numbers of travel offers they featured.  Visitors demonstrated a keen interest in business and medical tourism, user-friendly insurance, exotic tours and luxury travel.  Participants were also happy, stressing the effectiveness of their participation.

The press played a major role in attracting visitor attention.  There were 17 stands in the ‘Media Corner’, from AITF’s media partners.  In particular, AzerOlimpik International’s handbooks on Azerbaijan were very popular.

The First Azerbaijani Regional Tourism Exhibition was held alongside AITF, demonstrating the extensive domestic tourism sector in Azerbaijan.  One pavilion was dedicated to recreation areas, resorts and hotels.  Visitors were able to experience the natural colour of Azerbaijan’s regions and familiarise themselves with the country’s rich folklore, national dishes and traditions.

There was an interesting programme of events, consisting of workshops, master classes, presentations and other activities.  Traditionally, the exhibition attracts a huge audience of professionals, helping to increase awareness and enhance sales to popular destinations.  During the exhibition, there were seminars entitled ‘Tours to Israel. Recreation in the Red, Mediterranean and Dead Sea Resorts’, ‘Let’s go to Dubai’, ‘Italy is not just a Country, it’s a whole world’ and ‘How to sell Switzerland’.  Experts from abroad spoke about the characteristics in these four areas of the tourism business.  Approximately half of the visitors were interested in consulting services.  The launch of the Baku-Crete flight route was timed to coincide with the exhibition and was announced on the SW Travel stands.  This was the result of a great deal of hard work and cooperation, and will cater for an increasing flow of Azerbaijani tourists to Greece.  India promoted its colourful folklore, whilst one lucky visitor won a stay at the Kremlin Hotel in Turkey as a guest of Zenit Tour.

Each stand at the exhibition not only promoted products but also helped to increase the profile of the tourism industry.

Internet provider, Az.StarNet organised wireless internet access for visitors, which meant that visitors could tour Baku without even leaving the show.  During the exhibitions, visitors were also offered guided tours through Baku’s famous attractions via a collection of photographs.

The innovative design of exhibitors’ stands and their hard work was testament to the amount of preparation they had done for the exhibition.  Awards and certificates were handed to some companies following a survey of visitors conducted by SIAR marketing company.  Winners included AZAL (most creative design), the Greek national stands (best newcomer) and the Turkish national stand (best stand).

The exhibition was busy every day.  72% of the visitors were tourist industry professionals.  There were more visitors on the first day of the show than in 2009 and total attendance over the three days reached over 10,000 people, which represents a 20% growth.  Exhibitors reported an average of 7-8 meetings per day with potential partners, which culminated in signing contracts or generating potential cooperation in the future.  This means that over 2000 important meetings took place during the event, which will strengthen our country’s bonds with other parts of the globe.

This year, for the first time, AITF was audited by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI).  The show joins Caspian Oil and Gas, BakuBuild, World Food Azerbaijan, BIHE, BakuTel and AutoShow Azerbaijan, which have been audited annually for several years.

HOREX 2010, the 4th Caucasian International Exhibition for the Hotel, Restaurant and Supermarket industry, took place alongside AITF this year.  The event demonstrated complex equipment for hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and kitchens, as well as vending machines, fast-food systems and furniture.  This is the only event in the region where industry professionals meet annually to seek new opportunities and forge new partnerships.  Well-known brands at the show included: National, Tolkar, Zanussi, Electrolux, Ratondi, Scotshmann and Winterhalter.

AITF 2010 met the organiser’s expectations and marked a new chapter in the history of international tourism.  Major achievements for the show were the large number of participants who arrived despite the global economic crisis and, of course, President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to the exhibition, which was proof of the event’s contribution to best practice with regard to globalisation and economic stability.  The country’s leader spared time for the AITF 2010 participants, showed an interest in the development of tourism abroad and wished them every success.

The exhibition provides a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, ideal for conducting business, and brought the right people to the right place.

In 2011, the exhibition will celebrate its 10th anniversary and a special commemorative programme will accompany the event.


Top news

We invite you to travel!

 

A surprise at AITF-2010 was the excellent opportunity available for travelling throughout Azerbaijan ... without leaving the exhibition. Visitors liked the idea of uniting stands demonstrating Azerbaijan’s regions in a single complex -- an enclosed pavilion surrounded by a row of bright expositions.

Visitors studied 17 tourist routes in Azerbaijan, each having its own advantages and flavours. Photo exhibitions, maps, brochures and guidebooks on history, carpets, vases, shebekes (arabesque), ornaments, flowers and traditional decorations are varying from stand to stand.

Figuratively speaking, the mountains and forests coexist with flowering meadows, hot plains and icy waterfalls. Exhibition participants look to attract visitors, and to surprise them with their diverse tourism products, hotel infrastructure, and possibilities for increased tourism in the regions.

Local tourism experts believe that the tourism representatives of Nakhchivan, Guba, Lerik and Baku attending the event have successfully solved this problem.

The booths from Sheki, Gebelya, Ganja and Khachmaz were decorated in a fun and interesting manner, while the Gakh, Lankaran, and Garabagh expositions won over visitors with their informal stories about local heritage.

All the exhibitors have something to be proud of - natural areas filled with unique historical monuments, national cultural treasures and original folk art.

Many regions presented ethnographic ensembles, and dance groups, as well as local wines, and sweets.

So, in the framework of AITF-2010, you are invited on a great trip around Azerbaijan. With each exhibition, we get closer to most remote regions of our country. That is the law of professional tourism exhibitions, as the journey begins at home.

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Want to land on a unique fairy-tale island, which celebrates its 500th anniversary of becoming a part of the civilization this year? Mauritius, the heart of the sea-locked state in the south-west of the Indian Ocean, where you can fully enjoy the adventures in the landless waters, descend into the crater of an extinct volcano, enjoy the exotic birds and plants in nature reserves, and  become acquainted with  different cultures and mentality of myriad nations of the world.

We are ready not only to spend hours of talking about the wonders of Mauritius to all visitors of our stand but also to help with travelling to the magnificent white sand beaches and coral reefs of the island. Here, despite the remoteness of the island, European tourists admire the amazing sportfishing and diving. Though we have rare visitors from Azerbaijan, AITF 2010 has already proved the growing interest of your people in the charms of nature, heavenly impressions and implementation of successful commercial projects. We have myriad international companies, an offshore business centre, robust communications and highly educated people. Some people visit our land for business purposes, while others travel here to buy holiday houses. So, business tourism to Mauritius is as well of a certain interest for Azerbaijani entrepreneurs. Visitors to the exhibition are eager to learn about wide ranges of our services, which might be interesting for them outside the hotel. We explain them that we provide comfortable hotels, excellent services, and delicious food. And of course you can expect amazing tours full of historical and culture peculiarities, environmental surprises, and, finally, real adventures.


This is our first visit to Baku, and we believe that Azerbaijan, a country with strong economy, may allow its people to opt a new idea of relaxing on a tropical island. We have very good relations with Dubai, which is almost next to Azerbaijan. So, there are regular six-hour flights from Dubai to Mauritius. I believe that this is a good opportunity for people from Azerbaijan to discover the tropical island, in particular, island nation Mauritius. Therefore AITF 2010, a professional trade show that is annually held in different countries, gives favourable opportunities. This exhibition has played an important role in disseminating information about our country. Suffice it to say that President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev personally visited our stand and, in a friendly conversation, showed interest to our state and opportunities for developing tourist relations.

We hope that through this exhibition, we will witness a surprise visit to our country of high level authorities from Azerbaijan. This will, no doubt, intensify international relations and help to develop tourism.

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Andrei Andrianov, General Director of SOLEANS (Switzerland):

Where you can successfully combine the possibility of having a quality health care and spend great vacation? My answer is Switzerland, where tourism was originally developed and has now reached its perfection with established infrastructure and traditional services! Your visit to our wonderful country will be facilitated by a Swiss tour operator, which has a 19 year experience in receiving foreign tourists and organizing their leisure.


We receive every customer from all over the world, and arrange every kind of stay and exclusive services for them. Marketing research of requests from our Azerbaijani customers shows that one of the main features of tourists’ inflow is their desire for alternative medical examination in a European country. People want not just to be treated, but to have quality consultations, and as a consequence, rest in a country such as Switzerland to have unforgettable memories.

I am sure that this exhibition in Azerbaijan will show a positive influence on the increase of the tourists’ inflow from Azerbaijan to Switzerland. Let me be frank: I was surprised, in a good sense of this word, by interest of visitors shown to our stand, and was pleased to see professional partners in conversation and potential customers.

Yes, you know Switzerland very well!


Participating for the first time in this event, I have already made positive conclusions about the AITF exhibition. I think that our cooperation with the exhibition organiser ITECA CASPIAN will become a tradition. First, it is interesting to and useful for both parties. Second, having a confidence in the potential of Azerbaijani tourists, we are ready to provide them with ongoing assistance in visiting Europe.


Another view of the exhibition is its well organization and ... balance. There is always an opportunity to share views, answer questions, spare time for each visitor and provide him or her with maximum information. Here, an important principle of most international forums, i.e. to find an alternative and ensure balance between quantity and quality of customers, was achieved.


We had very interesting meetings at our stand, and successfully conducted a presentation for Azerbaijani tour operators on the specifics of the selling tours to Switzerland. So, I am satisfied!

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