Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told about the results of holding international events in the country.
In an interview for local TV channel REAL TV he stated that only F1 race competitions created conditions for receipt of finances in the amount of about $300 million in the servicing sector of the country.
"These competitions, which have a half-billion audience, bring huge benefits to Azerbaijan. They are held in 21 cities. If those competitions hadn’t been useless and had led to economic losses, would they be held in developed cities? Of course not," President Aliyev said.
He added that tourism is a very important sphere for any country. There are countries where tourism accounts for the bulk of GDP.
"We are also trying to expand Azerbaijan’s tourism opportunities and taking various steps in this direction. First of all, of course, it was necessary to create infrastructure. Currently, six international airports are operating in Azerbaijan. It was necessary to create beautiful roads, railways, service infrastructure, hotels, and public places. Of course, security issues are in the foreground for every tourist, especially at the present time. Azerbaijan is perhaps one of the safest countries in the world," the country’s leader stressed.
President Aliyev pointed out that the second matter was how to attract tourists and how to present Azerbaijan to the world. International events and European games held in Azerbaijan played a special role here.
"After the European Games held in 2015 and the first Formula 1 competitions held in 2016, the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan increased by 22%. In 2017, the Islamic Solidarity Games were organized. We saw that the number of tourists from Moslem countries has increased much. The flow of tourists from some countries has grown 3-4-fold, and in 2017 this growth made up 20%. But this figure is attached to above-mentioned 22%. Last year quantity of tourists grew by 6%. This indicator is not large, but the base is already high. This January the figure increased again," the Azerbaijani leader underlined.