Tourism sector has proved to be particularly successful in Azerbaijan. This is attributable to the country’s extraordinary natural beauty, a supportive legal and regulatory framework and a well-developed tourism and hospitality infrastructure. Baku boasts the best tourist facilities in the region with modern hotels, resorts, international and traditional cuisine as well as convenient air links to Europe and Asia. A number of international hotel chains such as Hyatt, Radisson, Park Inn, Kempinski, Four Seasons, JW Marriott and Hilton operate in Azerbaijan.
Climatic and terrain diversity, mountains and warm sea, medicinal hot springs are just a few attractions to see. Half of the world’s mud volcanoes are located in Gobustan. Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape has an outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings (petroglyphs) bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art.
The oldest Early Christian church, the fire worshippers’ temple Ateshgah, medieval castles scattered all over the country as well as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites of the Maiden Tower, the Shirvanshakh Palace, the Momine Khatun Mausoleum in Nakhchivan are the must-sees. Exquisite cuisine and wines have become gastronomical trademarks of Azerbaijan in the region and well beyond. Azerbaijani carpets, mugam and ashyg music art are in the UNESCO list of non-material heritage.
Each year more than one million foreign tourists visit Azerbaijan. Opportunities exist for developing regional tours (e.g. the Silk Way Tours involving Azerbaijan and countries of Central Asia). There are more than 500 hotels and B&B type facilities throughout the country.
The tourism market is fully liberalized with an excellent opportunity for international operators to establish businesses in Azerbaijan. As a major regulatory body, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issues licenses for those wishing to engage in tour operations. Azerbaijan Tourism Portal contains useful information for tourists.