Tourism a priority for Azerbaijan says President Ilham Aliyev, joins UNWTO/WTTC campaign

Tourism a priority for Azerbaijan says President Ilham Aliyev, joins UNWTO/WTTC campaign

PR No.: PR 11094

Tourism has the full support of the Azerbaijani Government said President Ilham Aliyev on becoming the latest head of state to join the UNWTO/WTTC Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign (Baku, Azerbaijan, 15 November).

Stressing that 2011 had been declared the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliev said the tourism sector was a priority for the country and an area in which investments in infrastructure would be intensified.

The President was speaking after receiving an Open Letter from UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, on the importance of Travel & Tourism as a force for economic growth and development.

“As traditional economic sectors face great challenges, new sectors such as tourism, sports and culture are driving growth in these difficult times,” said Mr. Rifai. “Azerbaijan is well prepared for this new reality and has clearly prioritized tourism, as evident in declaring 2011 as the Year of Tourism and joining the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.” 

David Scowsill, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) stated: “I’m delighted that Azerbaijan is the latest country to join our Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign. The importance of Travel & Tourism as a driver of Azerbaijan’s economy is clear.  Azerbaijan is a growing destination with its total contribution of Travel &Tourism to GDP rising by 9.5% annually in the next ten years. Its total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment is forecast to rise by 5% annually, rising to 375,000 jobs (8.3%) by 2021.”

Mr. Rifai highlighted the importance of a highly skilled tourism workforce during his visit to the Azerbaijan Tourism Institute, where he was given an honorary doctorate. The Institute is to become the latest tourism educational center to be certified as a UNWTOTedQual Institution. Mr. Rifai offered UNWTO’s expertise and support to Azerbaijan, particularly in the areas of capacity building and statistics.

During his visit, Mr. Rifai also met with various government officials including the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elmar Mammadyarov, the Minister of Economic Development, Shahin Mustafayev, and the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Huseyngulu Baghirov, all of whom expressed their support for tourism development as a means of economic growth.


Note to Editors:

Through the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign, UNWTO and WTTC are jointly presenting heads of state and government around the world an Open Letter which calls on them to acknowledge tourism’s key role in delivering more sustained and balanced growth and to prioritize the sector high in national policies in order to maximize its potential. The Open Letter outlines Travel & Tourism’s value as one of the world’s largest generators of jobs, a powerful driver of socio-economic growth and development and a key player in the transformation to the Green Economy.


Useful links:

Open Letter to Heads of State and Government

Further Information on the Joint Campaign


Media contacts:

UNWTO Principal Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60


WTTC Media Relations Manager: Anja Eckervogt

Tel: (+44) 20 7481 6484


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