10th Anniversary Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair
“Whole world. One exhibition”
AITF 2011, the Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair has started in Baku Expo Centre. This year the exhibition celebrates its tenth anniversary. In this time, AITF has come to be recognised as the main event in the Caspian Sea region’s tourism industry, where important meetings are held, partnerships established, and new programmes, prices and destinations announced.
The opening ceremony, which showcased the work of the exhibition, was attended by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Abulfaz Garayev, and the Executive Director of ITE Group Plc, Mr. Edward Strachan. Mr. Garayev congratulated all exhibitors on the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan and said, "Today we celebrate two milestone events. Ten years ago, in 2001, the Azerbaijan Ministry of Tourism was established, closely followed by the first Tourism and Travel exhibition, AITF. This year, on the personal initiative of our President, has been declared the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan. This momentous event for the country’s tourism industry will undoubtedly go down in history as the brightest phase in its transformation. The country will be actively promoting tourism in Azerbaijan. Before the end of the year six five-star hotels will open in the capital, which already has 500 hotels. Another major project is the construction of the year-round tourist resort Shahdag. I congratulate you all on the tourism event in Azerbaijan and wish you all a fruitful meeting and a good time. "
Mr. Strachan said, "I am delighted to be here at the AITF exhibition. Our company organizes more than ten tourist exhibitions worldwide, but the AITF exhibition is particularly significant because domestic tourism is widely represented here alongside international companies. This makes the exhibition one of the most vibrant and gives a complete picture of Azerbaijan. As a visitor to the exhibition, I am looking forward to getting acquainted with the beautiful corners of your country. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for their active support of the AITF and the organization of a domestic tourism exhibition"
AITF was first held in 2002, with 26 exhibitors from 5 countries. Today, AITF 2011 welcomes 230 companies from 24 countries, presenting 61 tourism destinations. This fact clearly demonstrates the development of the exhibition, as well as its role in the country’s tourism sector. Since its launch, AITF has presented about 900 companies.
The tenth anniversary edition of AITF has increased its exhibition area by 25% compared with last year. Visitors are able to see impressive stands, which will invite them in with their national colours, entertainment and, of course, unforgettable travel programmes. Featuring a variety of routes, the exhibition introduces its guests to different tourism destinations. The Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives will present Luxury Tourism programmes. Visitors are able to learn about medical tourism, health resorts and spas at the stands of Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. For the first time for Azerbaijan, the exhibition will offer new destinations: Laos, Cambodia, Hungary, Vietnam, Mayanmar and Mexico. One of the striking features of AITF is the large number of national stands, which actually announced their participation in this year’s event at AITF 2010. The exhibition presents the national stands of Greece, Georgia, Dagestan, Egypt, India, Lithuania, Turkey and Czech Republic. For the second consecutive year, the country partner of AITF is Turkey. The country’s tourism potential is presented by a national stand at the exhibition. Among the sponsors of the exhibition are Gartour company and the travel company Silk Way Travel. For many years, Silk Way Travel has held one of the largest stands at the exhibition. This year, in addition to sponsoring the event, the company has decided to increase the size of its stand. The Official Airline of AITF is AZAL. Among the partners are Azefon-Vodafone and Caspel companies.
The 2nd Azerbaijan Domestic Tourism Exhibition, organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, is held alongside AITF 2011. The exhibition features about 100 companies from 18 regions and present the attractions of regional holiday areas, resorts and hotels in Azerbaijan, as well as introduce the exhibitors and visitors of AITF 2011 to the rich and varied folklore, cuisine and traditions of the Azeri people.
The organisers of the exhibition (ITE Group plc and Iteca Caspian), together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, have prepared a special programme for the tenth anniversary AITF exhibition. For the first time, a catalogue of destinations will be published, providing an indispensable reference guide of destinations and routes for people to consult. The catalogue includes a description of the countries in which routes are offered, as well as a list of the companies that organise the tours. To create a festive atmosphere, branded phaetons are driving around the city, inviting people to visit the exhibition. At the exhibition there are a range of entertainment, including cooking shows, national dances, visual arts and pottery. The entertainment programme is also feature raffles of tours at the exhibition.
“Whole world. One exhibition” is the new slogan of the AITF exhibition. After all, only at the exhibition can someone looking for a holiday obtain information about exciting tours, take a virtual tour, get a sense of the national culture of the countries presented, and thus form a decision on a holiday destination or route.