Azerbaijan explores new winter tourism opportunities [PHOTO]

Laman Ismayilova

By Laman Ismayilova

From snowy views to bustling New Year markets, Azerbaijan has
much to offer at the most wonderful time of the year. Here you can
experience the world’s most thrilling winter activities.

The Shahdag Mountain Resort is ideal for tourists of all ages.
Well-known as the country’s first ski resort, the resort is located
in the Shahdag National Park, 32 km off Gusar District, 2,350
meters above sea level.

The State Tourism Agency has discussed the resort’s tourism
opportunities within a media tour, Azernews reports.

The event aims to further promote winter tourism in the country
and informs about Shahdag Mountain Resort’s services.

During the media tour, the State Tourism Agency held a
presentation on Shahdag Mountain Resort’s activity and tourism
potential.

Winter tourism opportunities

Speaking at the presentation, the head of the Tourism Product
Sector at Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Gunel Badalova, informed media
representatives about statistical indicators of winter tourism
centers operating in Azerbaijan, skiing opportunities, winter
entertainment available in winter tourism complexes, and other
tourism products. She also shared future plans and work to be done
for tourism development in 2023.

“Winter tourism is still seasonal and measures are being taken
to eliminate it. Although Azerbaijan is located in a warm zone, its
nature allows it to receive tourists even in winter,” said
Badalova.

Tourism Bureau representative spoke about the promotion of
winter tourism in Azerbaijan, as well as the activities of the
Shahdag Mountain Resort, Tufandag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex,
Agbulag Ski Center in Nakhchivan, and the services that will be
provided to tourists in wintertime.

Seasonal tourism in Azerbaijani districts

At the presentation, Gunel Badalova touched upon tourism in the
country’s districts.

“Guba is one of the interesting destinations in terms of winter
tourism. Tourists can visit Khinalig village and the Red
settlement, where the mountain Jews live. When it comes to the
winter season, not only skiing but also hiking routes come to mind.
There are several waterfalls that freeze in the winter season and
create a beautiful view. It is possible to use off-road vehicles to
climb the Laza waterfall in Gusar and climb the rest of the
distance with icy rocks. You can have fun on Lake Garanohur. Tours
are organized to observe rare birds in Shirvan National Park,
Talish Mountains, and Beshbarmag Mountain. Treatment centers in
Naftalan receive tourists in all months of the year. Tourists
travel thousands of kilometers to take advantage of therapeutic
oil,” said Gunel Badalova.

Winter tourism potential of liberated lands

Adviser to the chairman of the State Tourism Agency Kanan
Guluzade said that it is planned to develop winter tourism in
Azerbaijan’s liberated territories.

Currently, the State Tourism Agency focuses on winter tourism
development in the liberated lands, especially Kalbajar.

Tourist flow from Russia, Turkey, Iran & Arab
countries

In the winter season, most tourists come to Azerbaijan from
Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Arab countries. Foreign tourists make up
40 percent of those staying in districts, where winter tourism
prevails.

“Foreign tourists mainly go on winter holidays in the country’s
northern and western parts. They are also attracted by medical
baths in Naftalan, ancient baths, and marks in Baku,” said
Badalova.

Shahdag Mountain Resort and its role in local
tourism

Shahdag Mountain Resort director Rustam Najafov said that the
resort plays an important role in the development of winter tourism
in the country and gave detailed information about the
reconstruction and infrastructure works carried out in the complex,
hotels, and other tourist facilities, operating under the
resort.

“Local and foreign tourists are showing great interest in winter
tourism. All conditions for this have been created in Shahdag,” he
said.

Shahdag Mountain Resort’s hotels can accommodate a total of
1,200 people. On weekends, the center receives 8,000 tourists.

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