How ASAN Visa has changed tourism in Azerbaijan?

Travel & Leisure

  • Author Aziz Khalilov
  • Published January 2, 2021
  • Word count 480

In recent years, Azerbaijan has become one of the favorite destinations for regional tourists. After successful implementation of the oil strategy, Azerbaijan has started developing the other sectors of the economy where tourism is playing a very significant role. Beautiful nature and rich history expressed in the restored monuments along with developed infrastructure, including fashionable hotels built all over the country, have been instrumental in tourist attraction. The next step was to simplify the visa application procedure, hence in 2016 “ASAN Visa” system was established.

Today the application procedure for a visa to Azerbaijan consists of only three steps such as filling in the application form on the website - evisa.gov.az, paying the fee, and finally downloading an issued e-visa. It should be noted that the electronic visa is available for citizens of 94 countries. The e-visa is a single entry visa, valid for 90 days, and it allows a visitor to stay in Azerbaijan for up to 30 days. The processing period for a standard e-visa application is for up to 3 working days. It is also possible to obtain an express e-visa within 3 hours and the e-visa service is available regardless of non-working days and public holidays.

The easy visa issue procedure makes a positive impact on the development of tourism in Azerbaijan. Let us take a quick look at a recent statistic: according to the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan 2.849 million foreigners visited Azerbaijan in 2018. This number includes the traveler categories with traditional visas (visas issued through embassies), e-visas as well as visa exempted travelers. Considering that in 2018 the “ASAN Visa” system issued 681 thousand e-visas, about 24% of foreigners traveling to Azerbaijan in the same year used “ASAN Visa”. In 2019 the number of foreigners who visited Azerbaijan was 3.170 million and about 29,2% of them used “ASAN Visa”. This indicates that the “ASAN Visa” is increasing its share in the number of foreigners traveling to Azerbaijan. In the first half of 2019 the number of issued visas in comparison with the first half of 2018 increased by 61%. Since 2016 (the new visa system launch date) the number of foreigners who visited Azerbaijan has risen by 41% whereas during 2013-2016, the number of foreign visitors remained almost the same.

It is noteworthy that the pandemic has had a severe impact on the tourism industry in Azerbaijan. Considering the fact that the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), the issue of electronic visas via "ASAN Visa" system and other visas upon arrival to the international airports of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been suspended to prevent the virus spread on the territory of Azerbaijan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed human behavior and preferences in general, and in the tourism industry in particular. In the future, after the pandemic ends, we can expect a surge in the international tourism numbers. Implementation of e-visa systems will positively contribute to defining tourism destination preferences.

I am a freelancer journalist, interested in economy, finance, trading and tourism. My email address is aziz.khalilov1980@gmail.com, where I am ready to discuss about different topics.

Article source: http://articlebiz.com
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