How will the launch of direct flights to Baku from Delhi impact tourism from India to Azerbaijan? How is the second half of 2022 looking for travel from India?
We have already been seeing a considerable number of Indian travellers arriving in Azerbaijan since the international borders opened between the two countries this year. As of July 2022, Azerbaijan received more than 21,000 travellers from India. This means we are slowly closing the gap between the arrival numbers of the current year and 2019 as the pre-pandemic numbers during the same period were higher than this year’s by only 35 pc.
Considering all these positive tendencies, we are confident that the launch of direct flights between Baku and Delhi will increase the arrival numbers even further, with high expectations to reach pre-pandemic numbers in the second half of 2022. Another factor to allow us to say this is the fact that India was one of the top source markets with 65,000 arrivals in 2019, with substantial growth of 66.8 pc compared to 2018. When we look into the number of tourism products and experiences available at the moment as well as increased accommodation options, we can confidently say that there are even more factors to allure Indian travellers now, and direct flights will certainly contribute to increasing the interest among them.
How is the Indian market looking for 2023? Which segments look most promising?
Generally speaking, Azerbaijan is a destination that has something for everyone. Located in the diverse Caucasus region, this is a country with a perfect setting for many types of travellers, from families to solo wanderers as well as business travellers.
With so many unique experiences available, solo travellers can fully enjoy what Azerbaijan has to offer, including from hiking in amazing natural surroundings to enjoying delicious local cuisine and wine right after exploring the magnificent capital city Baku. On the other end of this spectrum, Azerbaijan also offers lots of family- and kids-friendly activities such as Alpaca farm and safari tours in Shamakhi surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains, the Alpine Coaster at Shahdag Mountain Resort, infinity swing at Tufandag Mountain Resort. The world’s first oil tanker museum and the reconstructed zoo in the capital city, Baku, are also among the recently-developed experiences.
Azerbaijan is also an emerging wedding destination with everything that one needs to celebrate their special day. From exciting venues and epic landscapes to soothing spas and adrenaline-filled activities, the country provides the best experience for destination weddings filled with countless unforgettable moments. Using this strength, one of our main priorities for India is to promote Azerbaijan’s potential in this segment as well.
With a great selection of purpose-built event venues and accommodation options, Azerbaijan is well-suited to host MICE groups and business event too. Equipped with luxury hotels and events venues in cutting-edge buildings, international and local hotel chains as well as family-run establishments, business travellers can find what they need here while adding leisure elements to their trip. Additionally, a series of luxury hotels that are currently available, such as Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Hilton Baku, JW Marriott Absheron Baku among others, will welcome Ritz-Carlton to their ranks, while Hotel Indigo will soon be added to the list of recently-opened hotels, including Courtyard by Marriott Baku and InterContinental Baku. These are where excellent services and quality await Indian travellers, be it for business and leisure, along with wedding planners.
Which are the on-ground activities planned in India this year?
One of the major plans regarding on-the-ground activities in India is to participate at a roadshow in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to reconnect with our Indian counterparts through extended meetings and networking events. Another one of our plans for this year includes cooperation with Wedding Sutra and WedMeGood platforms to attract wedding as well as honeymoon planners to Azerbaijan.
Other than these, we are also organising familiarisation trips on different themes for relevant stakeholders, including tour operators, journalists and influencers, so that they can a real taste of offerings in Azerbaijan and pass this knowledge to their audiences.