By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan is weighing measures to further develop tourism potential of its Naftalan city, famous for crude oil spas that has health-giving properties.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board Bahruz Asgarov has said that a plan to develop Naftalan’s tourism has been already worked out and will be implemented in 2020.
Addressing the Azerbaijan Tourism Summit 2019 held in Baku on November 29, Asgarov also spoke about the plans to increase tourist flow to the city.
“Currently, 36,000 tourists visit Naftalan every year. In the next few years, we expect this number to increase and reach 60,000 people,” Asgarov said.
He further said that 25 hiking and treking routes have been set up across the country so far as part of the work to develop touristic routes and this routes will be further developed in 2020.
Naftalan is a unique health center, offering crude oil bath that are considered a remedy for many diseases. Naftalan popularized Azerbaijan long before the oil boom that made Baku famous in the 19th century. The world’s only museum of crutches is also located in Naftalan city. The exhibits in the museum are crutches left by tourists who came to Naftalan for treatment.
Recently, the city was included in the list of top five recreation spots among the CIS countries for Russian tourists in Autumn 2019 by Russia’s TurStat analytical agency.
It should also be noted that Azerbaijan has around 300 mud volcanoes whose mud is used for treatment of radiculitis, skin, cardiovascular, gynecological, urological diseases, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
As to the total number of tourist visiting the country, as many as 2.68 million tourists visited Azerbaijan in January-October 2019, which is 10.9 percent more compared to the same period of 2018.
Along with health tourism, Azerbaijan provides tourists with the opportunities for sightseeing, rural, environmental, cultural, social, commercial, sport, and other kinds of tourism.