The direct flight between Pakistan and Azerbaijan is expected to be commenced by 2020, in an exclusive talk during Pakistan Travel Mart 2019 at Expo Centre Karachi, CEO Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) Florain Sengstschmid said that Pakistani tourists would get e-Visa within three hours, ONA reports citing brecorder.com website.
He said that around 40,000 Pakistani tourists visited Azerbaijan in 2018 and around 13 percent growth during 10 months of ongoing year. He said that Azerbaijan was expecting 50 to 60 percent growth in the number of Pakistani tourists after direct flight between two countries.
He therefore said that deliberations were initiated between Pakistan International Airlines and Azerbaijan Airlines and hopefully direct flight between two countries was expected to be commenced from Lahore-Baku-Lahore and Karachi-Baku-Karachi by 2020, he said.
He said that tourism sector of Azerbaijan was presently contributing 3 to 4 percent in its national economy and they were targeting to increase it up to 10 percent in next 10 years; adding that tourism industry in Azerbaijan was only 10 years old and they were striving and hosting several international sports events to attract more tourists in the country.
CEO ATB said that Azerbaijan was cheaper as compared to other tourist destinations as they offered 7-day trip in just $400; adding that Azerbaijan had rich culture, religious and other unique places like burning mountains. “We have religious similarity, halal food, etc for tourists from Pakistan".
He said that Pakistan was the second country in the world which recognized the independency of Azerbaijan so we have long and strong political friendship and traditions and our western outlook would give pleasure experience for Pakistani tourists.
He said that presently there was no deliberation between Pakistan and Azerbaijan tourism boards for promoting tourism but hoped that after direct flight operational, authorities of both countries would be supporting each other for the purpose.
The website writes that as eastern country with a western outlook, Azerbaijan is an exceptional combination of antiquity and novelty with several sites of interest supported by a rich history that dates back 5000 years and home to three UNESCO world heritage sites, its composite culture has evolved with the passing through of travellers along the Great Silk Road. Among the country's top attractions is the ancient Ashabi-Kahf mentioned in the Holy Quran, it attracts thousands of tourists from the Middle East and South Asia to the western territory of Azerbaijan. The natural cave between the mountains of Ilandag sees tens of thousands of pilgrimages to the sacred location each year. Another popular attraction is the iconic UNESCO site of the ancient Ateshgah, a fire temple which continues to amaze visitors with its spouts of flame. Azerbaijan has 9 distinct climatic zones, landscape, lush or snowy mountains, beaches and forests; variety of mineral deposits, the country is fast becoming a preferred destination for health and wellness offering world class spas, traditional hammams and mud baths.