China has added Azerbaijan to the list of approved outbound tourist destinations for its citizens.
China's Culture and Tourism Ministry is set to restart outbound services with 40 countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Brunei, Nepal, etc.
It is of note that, this is the second group of destinations in the pilot program. Previously, China resumed international tours to 20 countries.
Before the pandemic, China was the largest outbound tourism market in the world. In 2019, around 160 million Chinese tourists left for foreign countries. In the years leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, China emerged as the world's number one tourist destination, with about 15 percent of the global tourism industry's revenue.
Over that time, the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan increased significantly.
The simplified visa regime for Chinese citizens since February 2016 and ASAN Visa system have greatly facilitated all procedures for visiting Azerbaijan.
The opening of Azerbaijan Tourism Board's office in China also fosters the increase in the number of Chinese tourists.
A MoU signed between Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency and China's Culture and Tourism Ministry is another step to develop tourism ties.
The main purpose of the document is to support the translation and publication of important works of classic literature of both countries over the next five years.
Since 2023, China has started actively working on the resumption of direct flights.
China Southern Airlines resumed passenger flights on the Guangzhou-Urumqi-Baku route on March 13.
Two weekly flights are scheduled to resume from March 26 on Wednesdays and Sundays.