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The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is implementing regular works to extent cooperation in the sphere of the international tourism.

In September 2001 the Republic of Azerbaijan elected competent member of Universal Tourism Organisation (UTO). It gave us opportunity to vote at the Chief Assembly and other measurements of UTO and to integrate world tourism family using the experience in the sphere of tourism of progressive states.

Bilateral and multilateral relations establish and develop also with within the frames of the Organisations of Islamic Conference(OIC), the Organisation of Economic Cooperation of the Black Sea(OECBS), GUUAM, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation (OEC), ESCAP, OECD, the Council of Tourism of UIS members, and other regional and global organisations.

The delegation of the ministry participated in the 15th session of the Chief Assembly of the UTO held in Peking, China, in the OIC conferences of the ministers of tourism of member-states held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia and the meetings of working group of OECBS on the sphere of Tourism held in Greece, Turkey and Albania.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism held the International Conference on "Tourism opportunities in OECBS region" with the participation of the deputies of the ministers of tourism of OECBS member-states in Baku.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has been also represented in the meetings of the Council of Tourism of UIS members held in Yalta, Moscow, the city Kishinyov in the republic of Moldova. Particular attention in the sphere of tourism is paid to bilateral relations.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism established intensive relations with the state tourism entities of Turkish Republic, the Republic of Australia, the Republic of Greece, Russian Federation, the Republic of Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Uzbekistan and constantly held meetings with them.

Definite works are carried out in the frames of Intergovernmental Agreements on cooperation in the sphere of tourism signed by the Republic of Azerbaijan and by Turkey, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Italy, Georgia, Ukraine and Bulgaria. The government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the governments of the Republics of Moldova and Greece worked out the projects of Agreements on cooperation in the sphere of tourism. Those projects passed all internal procedures and are ready to be signed. Worked out the projects of cooperation in the sphere of tourism between the governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the governments of the Republic of Austria, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Arabic Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Kazakhstan, United Arabian Emirates and Israel. Corresponding negotiations are held now on the matter in related countries.

Recent years the specialists on tourism also participated in the meetings of common commission on the economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, France, Greece, Sweden, Russia and Egypt.

Since the day of its establishment the Ministry interested in the problem of cadres training, that occupy particular place in the development of tourism policy. The representatives of private section and the students taking education in the sphere of tourism participated at held courses together with the employees of the Ministry.

We should particularly mention the Turkish organisation TIKA that constantly cooperates with the Ministry in this sphere. 66 individuals participated in training courses in the related spheres during 2001-2002. The participants were 6 employees of the Ministry, 26 students, 34 representatives from private section (hotels, travelling agencies).

Four employees of the Ministry and the head teacher of the Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Training and Sport attended courses of improvement of professional skills held for the specialists of tourism section in Spain and Italy by the Department of Human Resources Development of the UTO.

According to the mutual agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Union of Turkish Travel Agencies (UTTA) 18 students educated in Azerbaijan in the sphere of the tourism had their practise in the hotels and tourist agencies in Antalya, Turkey during June-August of 2003.

By means of the tourism development programs within the frames of cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Labour of the Republic of Austria, Sweden Agency of Development and Cooperation (SADC), Egypt Arabic Republic Fund of Technical Cooperation with the countries of UIS, Japan and other countries 20 representatives from Azerbaijan participated at related courses during 2002-2003. Seven of those participants were the employees of the Ministry and 13 of them the representatives of tourist companies.

Today the Ministry is negotiating with TIKA to hold training courses in Baku by Turkish teachers for those who work in service section of the tourism. Taking into consideration low level of tourism service in our country it considered to be necessary to held courses on hotel and table services. Those courses held in Baku June 2004.

The aim of the Ministry in extension of the international relations is to popularise tourism potentiality over the world and to formulate its image as a tourist country. Serious measures taken in this directions; open-air museum of Minimundus in city Clagenfurt of Austria you may find a model of Qiz Qalasi(Maiden Tower). The delegation from the ministry took part in unveiling of the model.

The events of September 11, war in Iraq, non-typical pneumonia in Far East countries, regional conflicts and other events of the kind directly effect the development of tourism and its geography.

The world tourism market is investigated for this purpose and determined potential tourism regions of Azerbaijan. According to carried out recent investigations most active tourists in the world are from the countries of Iran Bay (Saudi Arabia, United Arabian emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait), from some European countries and the tourists from China and Japan. The Ministry is carrying out definite work to attract the tourists of those regions into Azerbaijan. Increase of the tourists visiting Azerbaijan will serve to present all over the world rich tourism potentiality, history and culture of our country and to increase incomes from tourism into the state budget.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism signed and adopted the documents necessary to establish legal-normative base in the sphere of tourism. The State Program on Tourism Development in 2002-2005 and "Plan of actions" affirmed according to the Decree # 1029 S of the President of Azerbaijan from August 27, 2002 gave stimulus to the development of tourism. Concerning the implementation of this document 7 main routes over the republic studied and approved by Board of the Ministry: Baku-Khachmaz, Baku-Balaken, Baku-Astara, Baku-Gazakh, Baku-Shusha, Baku-Nakhchivan and about Baku. The establishment of tourism infrastructure in the regions by the related organs is carried out over these routes.

In connection with development of tourism in Azerbaijan the Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to provide the employment of the population establishing new tourism infrastructure in the regions, involving foreign and native investors to the regions and establishing there new tourism enterprises. The employers of the Chief Office of Tourism sent on official journey to 30 perspective regions and towns chosen for development of tourism, completed investigation of the regions on the establishment of different forms of tourism in regions and prepared the necessary schemes in March 15. The next stage of the process is to determine tourism zones over Azerbaijan and to attract there investments. With the purpose of profitable use of tourism zones, to provide maximal use of local potentialities and to protect the environment it is necessary to work out and to confirm the statute on the zones. In the process of exploitation of the zones the main criterion shall be development of the regions and improvement of social-economical situation.

Rich natural resources and natural diversity give excellent opportunities for development of different spheres of tourism. The native people use the mentioned priorities; they engage in green-village tourism, and in all the seasons of the year provide local and foreign tourists with dwelling, food and even tourism services. Those who assist the villager in service also get some profit, for neighbouring villages get the opportunity to present foodstuffs and needlework to the tourists. To support this kind of tourism which play important role in improvement of social life the Chief Office of Tourism constantly holds training and courses in the regions for popularisation and development of village tourism. Village tourism is also an important factor in popularisation of our culture, traditions and cuisine. Special courses are held by the international organisations to popularise this kind of tourism and training of the specialists on this sphere. Thus in August 14-15, 2003 the international association on level skill rising and development 'InWent' held in Baku a measurement dedicated to "Protection of particular areas and economic development of the region with the help of Ecotourism in the Region of South Caucasus".

Another criteria that may positively influence quick social-economic development in the regions is to finance, in accordance with the determined programs, the projects presented by owners in the sphere of tourism on establishment of tourism infrastructure. Support of those projects by related organisations will positively affect the establishment and development of spheres on tourism services and attract the flow of tourists into the regions.

With the purpose to popularize tourism potentiality of the country the Ministry held Internal Tourism Exhibition on the eve of the Universal Day of Tourism in September 2003. Representatives from tourism section of about 30 regions and towns participated at the measurement with their showcase and had the opportunity to purpose tourist facilities to citizens and tourism companies.

With the help of the UNO the Ministry of Culture and Tourism started to establish the tourist information centres in 7 Azerbaijan regions with the purpose to practise and popularise tourism potentialities of the regions. Those centres will train local specialists in the sphere of tourism and play positive role in removal of lack of cadres in the regions.

The government of America represented by its of America in Azerbaijan and the government of Azerbaijan represented by the ministry of Culture and Tourism signed 'Grant Contract on preparation of the Strategic Development plan of Tourism in Azerbaijan ' at the expense of grant allocated by American Trade and Development Agency.

With the purpose to discuss the problems and innovations in the sphere of tourism and to find their solution the Ministry of Culture and Tourism held 3 Republic Conferences on Tourism. As the member of UTO the Ministry celebrates each year the Day of Universal Tourism.

The measures taken by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are based on the development of tourism section in the regions and improvement of social and economic conditions.

With the purpose to propagandise tourism opportunities of our country the Ministry of Culture and Tourism carries out series of measurements. More than 20 advertising publications reflecting tourism possibilities of our country have been prepared by the order of the Ministry during resent 2 years, such as a booklet "Information for Tourists", an atlas "Azerbaijan as is", a catalogue 'Welcome to Azerbaijan', a book 'Guide about Azerbaijan', the tourist maps of Azerbaijan and Baku, CD "Welcome to Azerbaijan" and others. The abovementioned publications issued in Azerbaijani, English and Russian. On demand of the Ministry six times a year published magazine "Azerbaijan Review" in Russian and English. Information about measures in the sphere of tourism given in the newspaper "Tourism news" published one in a month. The abovementioned publications delivered to the participants and visitors of tourism exhibitions and to embassies and representations of Azerbaijan in foreign countries. The advertisements of tourism potentiality of our republic placed in tourism magazines published in foreign countries. Video-materials reflecting the tourism infrastructure of our country benched in exhibitions of the International tourism. Basing on the applications by the citizens of foreign countries the Ministry of Culture and Tourism send them information about tourism opportunities of our country.

The International tourism exhibitions held in or republic in recent three years. The quantity of the foreign countries participating in the exhibitions increases each year. More than 70 companies from 18 foreign countries took part in the 3rd International Exhibition "AITF 2004" held in April 8-10, 2004.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism constantly participates at the exhibitions of the International tourism held in London, Moscow, Berlin, Istanbul, Kiev, Tbilisi, Makhachkala and the island Kish of Islamic Republic of Iran. Some travelling companies and hotel complexes participate in those exhibitions as well. Travelling companies taking part in the exhibitions negotiate and sign contracts on cooperation with foreign travelling companies. Thus each year we may witness the increase of tourists in our country.

During recent two years the Ministry viewed applications from 115 companies and licensed in accordance with 'Rules of license (special permission) presentation to some activities in the Republic of Azerbaijan' affirmed by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan from September 2, 2002 and 316 250 000 manats due paid to the state budget.

To perfect the statistic material gathered from travelling companies the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Institute of Information Technologies of the National Academy if Sciences concluded a contract that established "Corporative net on gathering and elaboration of statistic information". Statistic information from travel companies will enter by the modem to the base of Tourism department and elaborate there.

According to the Decree # 56 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan from April 23, 2004 on application of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan about amendment to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "About tourism" the Ministry of Culture and Tourism charged with the realization of 'Certification of Tourist-excursion services'.

Relating with abovementioned worked out the propositions on organisation of the "Classification of hotels and residing objects alike", projects on affirmation of rules of 'Certification of Tourist-excursion services'' by the Cabinet of Ministers and proposition on the amendment to the Law "About the state due" that later sent to the Cabinet of Ministers in the form of the project.

To enter the information to the system of automatized information-search (SAIS) 'Enter-Leave' about those overstepped the boundaries in the check points, with the initiative of the Ministry added area of "the aim of the trip-tourism" into the "visa/inside" parallel the 'borderline information' at Central Server.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism appealed to the State Customs Committee to organise 'green corridor' in Bina airport for tourists visiting Azerbaijan with tourist voucher. The application of the Ministry found its realisation.

$20 USA determined for legalisation of the visas of the tourists visiting Azerbaijan with tourist voucher or tourist dispatch.

Worked out sample form of "Requisites forms of 'Tourist dispatch' (form# TD-1) and rules of their usage"- unique form of tourist dispatch. The form coordinated with the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance and affirmed by the Ministry of Justice in the form of normative-legal act.

To simplify individual and group dispatch worked out new form in Azerbaijani and English for legalisation of "tourist dispatch".

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism worked out the project on "The system of complex measures for supply of security in the sphere of Tourism" that already coordinated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Corresponding information gathered from regional offices in accordance with interrogation form

:       Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Republic.