In a strategic move to bolster its tourism industry, Azerbaijan is set to open new tourism representation offices in Moscow and Istanbul. The Moscow office is slated to open its doors in September 2024, while the Istanbul counterpart will follow suit in December of the same year, Javan Bayramov, Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, told Report.

“These offices will function as branches,” explained Bayramov. “Our on-the-ground work takes two forms: branches/representations and representative offices.”

The first format involves establishing a dedicated office staffed by an Azerbaijani team, akin to the successful model implemented in Israel three years ago. This approach signifies a long-term commitment to collaboration.

According to Bayramov, a similar setup was initiated in Georgia, but due to border closures, its operations have been temporarily suspended. “It served as a showroom where visitors to Georgia could learn about Azerbaijan, encouraging the development of combined tours,” Bayramov added. “Most tourists from far abroad aim to visit both Georgia and Azerbaijan, making combined tours highly popular.”

The second format entails partnering with representative companies, as currently practiced in India and China.

“These companies are well-versed in the local tourism industry and Azerbaijan as a destination,” emphasized the Deputy Chairman. “The Chinese tourism industry has its specifics, so it’s more convenient to work on the ground through local companies with extensive experience and expertise in providing similar services to tourists heading to other countries. We understand that this is a more practical format.”

Prior to the pandemic, Azerbaijan had a tourism representative office in Moscow operated through a local company, but its activities were halted during the global health crisis.

The opening of these representative offices is expected to significantly boost the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan from Russia and Türkiye. In the first five months of 2024, 28.8% of tourists visiting Azerbaijan were Russian citizens, while 18.2% were from Türkiye, marking year-on-year increases of 20.3% and 23.1%, respectively.