A significant growth in the number of Bahrainis travelling to Azerbaijan has been registered, according to a senior minister.
Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism Minister Dr Aboulfas Garayev said the number of Bahrainis travelling to his country has steadily increased in the past few years.
“In 2010, we welcomed 87 Bahraini tourists that jumped to 131 visitors in 2014 and last year the total number of Bahraini citizens visiting our country was 1,562,” he said.
“The numbers so far this year are 4,470 Bahraini tourists.
“This indicates there is growing interest in our country as it’s a new tourist destination for Bahrainis.”
Dr Garayev was speaking yesterday during a Press conference held at The Ritz- Carlton, Bahrain.
He said the tourism sector contributed 4.8 per cent of his country’s gross domestic product with more than two million visitors travelling to Azerbaijan so far this year.
“Bahrainis, like other Gulf citizens, can get visa on arrival, while other nationalities can apply for a visa online that will be issued in three hours,” he added.
“We have shopping festivals twice a year, host five big international music festivals and have a track record of hosting successful mega sporting events.
“There are several four- and five-star hotels, top-notch restaurants and beautiful mosques that will attract Gulf tourists.”
Co-charing the Press conference was Dubai-based Atlantis Holidays chairman Rashid Al Noori, whose company runs the official representative office for GCC countries to promote Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.
“Bahrain is a big market for Saudi Arabia as it provides an ideal gateway,” said Mr Al Noori.
“It would be a viable option for Gulf Air to start flying to Baku or have code-share agreements with other airlines to enter this market.”
The GDN previously reported that Bahrain F1 officials helped organise Azerbaijan’s first Formula One race last year and hundreds of marshals from the country travelled to Baku to assist its organising team.