UNWTO welcomes Azerbaijan´s implementation of a new e-visa system streamlining visa applications into an electronic format, aimed to attract more international tourists into the country.
The electronic visa system, operational since March 2013, was administered upon the decree of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to facilitate visa procedures for foreigners traveling to the country. The measure enables document facilitation and reduction of visa costs and processing times.
“Azerbaijan’s decision is the recognition of how visa facilitation can be a key measure to promote tourism in a country. This new system encourages travel to Azerbaijan and will lead to further development of the country´s tourism sector through the increase of international tourism flows,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Currently, there are 25 travel companies operating in the country that are authorized to issue e-visas to international tourists, and initiatives are being undertaken to increase this number. Concurrent with the implementation of the system, border checkpoints will be improved in line with the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku to ease entrance of international tourists into Azerbaijan.
Visa facilitation is proven to be a key measure to promote tourism’s growth and its impact on economic growth and job creation. A UNWTO/WTTC report prepared for the G20 shows that the implementation of visa facilitation measures among the G20 economies could generate as much as an 5.1 million jobs and extra US$ 200 million extra in exports from international tourism between 2013 and 2015.