Continuing its lively participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) had an interactive panel session followed by a networking lunch on 11 November 2021 to talk about the impact of technology and sustainability on the tourism industry.
The panel session took place at the Terra auditorium of Azerbaijan’s nature-inspired pavilion in the Sustainability District and featured Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President of Seera Group, Mamoun Hmedan, General Manager of WEGO MENA and Mohamed Al Rais, Deputy Managing Director of Al Rais Travel, along with Florian Sengstschmid, Chief Executive Officer of ATB.
Emphasising the timely opportunity to discuss current developments and future plans to improve the tourism industry from various perspectives, Mr. Sengstschmid said: “Following a series of events we held within Expo 2020 Dubai, including the Week of Azerbaijan, we are excited to organise yet another discussion platform and bring together our partners to discuss the future of our industry.”
“Sustainability, innovation and digital solutions have already become a focal point of our activities, and we are looking forward to sharing our vision for more responsible as well as immersive travel experiences”.
Azerbaijan has become an exemplary destination with its quick transformation of traditional travel experiences into experiences adapted to emerging demands. The unique tangible and intangible assets, favourable climate, diverse landscapes and mouthwatering cuisine of the country, as well as its hospitable people, have allowed the progression of sustainable tourism while bringing out the best of what the country has to offer.
Among many sustainable tourism offerings now available in Azerbaijan, hiking routes passing through pristine nature and timeless villages in the Caucasus Mountains, birdwatching sites with unique views and endemic bird species, the Mud Volcanoes Tourism Complex in a moon-like landscape, Slow Food Travel allowing travellers to get familiar with local culinary traditions first-hand, and other exciting experiences have been presented to tourism professionals during the last few weeks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, ATB has also introduced many interesting online platforms to support and connect with local and international stakeholders, as well as innovative projects to both educate relevant partners and contribute to an improved traveller experience. Among them the following stand out: “Macəra Yaxındadır” (“Adventure is Near”) – a domestic tourism campaign to support local industry partners; Azerbaijan 101 – an e-learning platform for travel agents and representatives across the global tourism industry; the Tourism Training and Certification Centre – a platform dedicated to keeping tourism employees engaged through professional trainings; the Domestic Booking Platform – a digital tool for citizens and residents of the country; RITM – an initiative designed to support tourism start-ups in the regions and attract investment in regional tourism; Digital Trip Planner – an online tool to create a personalised itinerary based on customers’ preferences and trip duration.
Currently, citizens and permanent residents of 65 countries can travel to Azerbaijan by air, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With restored connection via Azerbaijani Airlines, Flydubai, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways, passengers aged 18 and over can now fly to Azerbaijan by submitting both a COVID passport (an official document issued by the relevant country on complete vaccination or recovery from COVID-19) and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the flight, while for minors only the latter needs to be provided within the indicated period of time.