Azerbaijan, a country situated at the crossroads of eastern Europe and western Asia, is eyeing 30-40 per cent growth in Indian visitors this year following a rise in corporate and wedding travellers as well as Bollywood productions.
"In 2019, 65,000 Indian travellers visited Azerbaijan, which is 66.8 per cent growth compared with 2018. We are seeing a rise in travellers from the corporates, family and weddings. This is very encouraging and we believe that Azerbaijan will see 30-40 per cent growth in footfalls from Indian travellers in 2020," Azerbaijan Tourism Board CEO Florian Sengstschmid told PTI here.
He said there were several big and small productions shot in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, showcasing the city for a larger audience in India. "To encourage film fraternity to shoot in Azerbaijan, we will help production houses in getting permits, identify locations, provide them with support teams and also reimburse certain part of productions," he added.
Therefore, in 2020, Azerbaijan Tourism Board is focused on connecting with corporates for their incentive programmes, wedding planners, production houses and travel agents. Azerbaijan, home to nine of the world's 11 climate zones, is targeting the tier II and III cities for promotions this year.
"Earlier, we promoted Azerbaijan as a preferred travel destination among Indian travellers in the big and metro cities. As we have already covered the larger cities, this year we have decided to focus on the smaller cities which provide huge potential," Sengstschmid said.
The country is positioned as a competitive destination that is good for all pocket sizes, he said. There are negotiations going on for direct flight connectivity between the two countries, he added, without giving any timeline for it. "When direct connectivity between both countries is established, the tourist traffic from India will double.