By Leman Mammadova
In the modern world, tourism is one of the most dynamically developing and profitable sectors of the economy for each country.
Azerbaijan enjoys a great potential for the development of tourism. Nature, climate, historical monuments, cuisine, rich culture of the people and other factors lay the foundation for the development of many areas of tourism. There are wide opportunities for Azerbaijan to be recognized as a tourist destination in the world.
Azerbaijan is among the fastest-growing destinations for tourists.
Tourists say that Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus have the best recreation zones in the CIS countries during winter holidays, Trend reports citing Turstat.
According to Turstat analytics agency, 32 percent of opinion polls prefer the winter resorts of Logoisk and Silichi in the Minsk region of Belarus, Trend reports.
Shymbulak recreation center near Almaty, Kazakhstan, has obtained 23 percent of the vote.
However, 16 percent have chosen Azerbaijan’s Shahdag and Tufandag winter-summer tourism complexes.
Some tourists like “Karakol” in Kyrgyzstan and “Chimgan” resorts in Uzbekistan.
The Shahdag winter-summer tourism complex has attracted great interest of tourists since it opened its doors to guests in 2013.
The tourist complex “Shahdag” is located on the territory of the Shahdag National Park in the Gusar region of Azerbaijan near the mountain of the same name, 32 km from the center of Gusar district. The complex with an area of 2058 hectares is the first mountain-ski resort in the history of Azerbaijan.
The infrastructure of the complex is very rich – there are a lot of hotels, restaurants, ski trails, lifts, etc. Currently there are 5 hotels here – Zirve (4 stars), Shahdag Hotel & Spa (5 stars), Gaya Residences (family residences), PIK Palas (5 stars) and Park Chalet (4 stars). In addition, in all seasons there are several cable cars, many cafes, restaurants, and plenty of entertainment at the services of vacationers.
The complex has appropriate areas for skiing, horse trekking, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and mountain hiking.
During the winter season, 19 ski slopes are given to different skiers. The professional ski school and ski rental shop offer all kinds of accessories and advice to meet every guest’s needs.
However, another ski resort of the country Tufandag Mountain Resort, which was launched in Gabala in January 2014, offers all the favorable conditions for relaxation in the mountainous area.
This recreational and tourism facility is located in approximately 4 km from Gabala city, provides visitors with skiing slopes and cable roads with a total length of 17 km with red, black and blue stripes.
Both amateur and professional skiers can fancy the service level at Shahdag and Tufandag which is on a par with the European ski resorts.
Azerbaijan is among the developing countries in the field of tourism, occupying the 39th place among 148 countries in terms of global competitiveness in tourism.
In January-November 2018, the number of foreigners traveling from 193 countries to Azerbaijan amounted to 2.5 million people.
Azerbaijan aims to develop tourism sphere by all possible means. Sustainable development of the non-oil sector, in particular the tourism sector, is crucial at a time when it is impossible to fully rely on oil and gas industry.