flashing new 20.06.2014 / Twinning Project successfully finalised

On June 12th 2014 the official Closing Conference of the Twinning project “Strengthening the Capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was held in “Baku” Room of Hyatt Regency Hotel. 

The Conference was hosted by Mr. Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Culture and Tourism and Mrs. Malena Mard, Ambassador of the EU Delegation and was attended by nearly fifty participants from Beneficiary authorities, MS counterparts, EU Delegation officials, tourism industry stakeholders and mass media.

The Minister opened the Conference and spoke about the significance of the Tourism Twinning project for the current development stage of the tourism sector of Azerbaijan and growing needs of the tourism in market. The Project team presented the results achieved by the involved experts and underlined the commencement of adoption processes in the Department of tourism in relation to reforms proposed by the Twinning project. The EU Ambassador as well as representatives of the Member states involved in the project congratulated the Beneficiary, the tourism stakeholders and the project team with successful completion of the first twinning project in tourism and wished prosperity to Azerbaijan in becoming a unique tourism destination on the world map. 

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11.06.2014 / The Twinning project “Strengthening the Capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” finalized

The Twinning project “Strengthening the Capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” with the overall objective to improve the performance of the tourism sector in the process of diversifying the economy of Azerbaijan was successfully finalized.

The project of total contract value of 900,000 EUR started on 15 February 2013 and was implemented within almost 17 months with the support of the Beneficiary – Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, by the EU Member State (MS) institutions - the Austrian Federal Procurement Agency (FPA) and Lithuanian State Department of Tourism . The final extended date of the project is 27th June 2014.

The project implementation brought significant changes into the public tourism management of Azerbaijan such as the following: 

1)   optimization and improvement of the organizational structure and capacity building of the Department of Tourism for better policy planning and implementation, analysing the trainings needs of the department personnel, providing trainings on advanced tools for tourism destination management to tourism authorities and industry representatives;

  

2)   analysis and recommendations on update of the current tourism regulatory framework, introduction of secondary legislation setting minimal standards for services in tourism area, review of the acting licensing framework and submittal of recommendations on minimal licensing requirements, proposals on establishment of tourism foundation for financing the SME activities in tourism area;

  

3)   current tourism statistics analysis and proposals on building efficient system of statistical reporting, introduction of impactful three-year marketing strategy, improvement of vocational education in tourism area, trainings on destination marketing and tourism product development;

  

4)  Elaboration of a comprehensive self-regulatory model of the tourism and recreation area to be applied to Naftalan based on Lithuanian practice as well as development of the special tourism area model in ecologically sensitive regions. 

As a result of Twinning proposals and recommendations the following main enforcements were officially made:

 -   The three-year Tourism Marketing Strategy (2014-2016) was officially adopted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as of 13 November 2013;

-     Minimum standards for hotels and accommodation types was adopted by the State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patents which was effectuated starting from 14 January 2014;

-    Azerbaijan Convention bureau (AzCB) was established by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism  to enhance MICE tourism capabilities in congresses and conferences.

The project results will be publicized at the official Closing Conference to be held on 12 June, 2014 at Hyatt Regency "Baku" room. The Conference will be hosted by Mr. Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Culture and Tourism and Mrs. Malena Mard, Ambassador of the EU Delegation and will be attended by the Beneficiary authorities, MS counterparts, EU Delegation officials, tourism industry stakeholders and mass media.

 

10.06.2014 / Forthcoming finalization of the Twinning project

The Twinning project “Strengthening the Capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” has successfully accomplished the planned activities for the 5th quarter of project timeline on May 31st  2014. Due to the need to monitor the enforcement of reforms proposed by the project the addendum to Twinning contract was requested and subsequently agreed between the Beneficiary and the Delegation of the European Union as of 7 April, 2014, according to which the project was extended until 27 June 2014, e.i. for 1,5 months.  

To discuss the tasks fulfilled in the last quarter the members of the steering committee have been invited to participate at the 5th Steering Committee Meeting which will be held on June 11, 2014 in the RTA office.

The activities implemented in the 5th quarter continued on implementation of tasks on legal approximation, capacity building for the Department of Tourism and model for the tourism and recreation area.

The legal adaptation was taken to the stage of enforcement of the secondary legislation for implementation and monitoring of which by the DoT proposals based on the assessment of the laws of Azerbaijan examined in Activities 2.1 and 2.2, also reflecting the needs of Department of Tourism in daily operations were submitted to the Beneficiary.

Within the capacity building component trainings on Tourism Destination Marketing and Product Development were conducted for the representatives of the Department of Tourism. The purpose of trainings was to familiarize with the basic tools for efficient practice-applied destination marketing such as tourism destination marketing value-chain approach, customer journey, communication life cycle, rethinking marketing, storytelling in tourism, blogging tips, e-mail marketing, destination marketing applied offline communication tools and promotion and definitions of the inputs and final outputs in tourism production process, tools for creating a destination experience based on the best-practice examples from Europe and around the world on developing the unique tourism products.

By conducting the trainings on the Destination management and Product Development for the personnel, the Twinning team did the best to assist the personnel of the Department of Tourism in discovering unique tourism products in Azerbaijan and exploring advanced creativity tools to build up an attractive and matchless image of the country.

To assist the DoT to access more frequent and precise data on arrivals, overnights, durations of stays and same-day trips with consideration of seasonality and other contributing factors the statistics expert of the Twinning project elaborated the description and the draft survey on domestic tourism which would be held regularly and prepared all the necessary steps and terms of reference for call for tenders for the survey execution by local research institutions. As a result, the tender preparation is currently in the pipeline at the MCT.

The MS experts provided a comprehensive report comprising of developed methodological approach to a tourism destination model using the best practices of Lithuanian spa resorts for further adaptation to Naftalan. The elaborated model reflects aspects of supply and demand in developing a tourism and recreation destination, structural analysis of inbound tourism in Azerbaijan, classifications of health, spa tourism and medical tourism and application of their standards with examples of case studies from European countries as well as guidance to ecotourism development and proposals for introduction of ecotourism in Azerbaijan. The proposals reflected in the report highlighted crucial issues such as marketing of the Naftalan destination, products diversification in terms of comprehensive development of Naftalan-Goranboy area, strategic tourism planning, general and specific proposals for focusing on further development of health report and cultural life in the area. 

The Twinning project also provided a model of tourism and recreation area in the ecologically sensitive regions demonstrating the perspective steps for touristic upgrading using an example of a “Bandavan” volcano and accompanied with recommendations to focus on preventive measures against natural and human impacts and develop the site as a tourism hotspot without destroying it (visitors` management) by offering to   experience the nature and the outstanding lunar landscape.

As planned the Closing Conference of the Twinning project will take place on 12th June 2014 at Hyatt Regency “Baku Room” with participation of the Beneficiary, EU delegation, MS partners, local tourism stakeholders and mass media.

 

Completed Activity 3.1 paves the ground for another project on domestic tourism in Azerbaijan

 Last week was marked by completion of Activity: Assistance to the Department of Tourism and the State Committee for Statistics with regard to tourism statistics and the final mission of Mr. Peter Hackl, STE on statistics.

The expert`s activity was dedicated to assisting the DoT in plans to launch a system household survey to be held on monthly basis as response to STE recommendations provided in the Activity report. The idea behind is to enable the DoT to access more frequent and precise data on arrivals, overnights, durations of stays and same-day trips with consideration of seasonality and other contributing factors.

 These monthly surveys will provide information about the domestic tourism which is preferable to results from the State Statistics committee, as they are supposed to indicate actual trends within a few weeks after the reference period, show the seasonal pattern also in details like visitors from the primary markets, leisure and business trips, and report trips which took place in a (short) period of max 6 weeks before the interview, so that the quality of the respondent’s answers is much higher than it can be expected for a biannual survey. The survey would consist of interviewing 1000 respondents monthly.

 During the mission the STE based on the needs and support of the beneficiary elaborated the description and the draft survey on domestic tourism and prepared all the necessary steps and terms of reference for call for tenders for the survey execution by local research institutions.

survey

The STE also discussed with the State Statistics Committee the format of eventual cooperation between the MCT and the Statistics Committee regarding the access to the database of households and selection of households to be interviewed in accordance with requirements and selection methods. The parties agreed to facilitate the initiative of the Department of Tourism on households` survey through official correspondence on administrations level of both institutions which would shape the further steps. 

 

 07.05.2014 / Component 4 - Assistance in developing a model for “Tourism and Recreation Areas” finalized

 The final mission under Activity 4.3 comprising of a group of Lithuanian and Austrian experts marked the successful completion of Component 4 last week.

 As a result of the Activity 4.3 the Lithuanian experts provided the comprehensive report on the elaborations under the activity comprising of a methodological approach to a tourism destination model for further adaptation to Naftalan.

Based on Lithuanian practice the experts provided in the report the forecast of tourism flows change in Naftalan though detailed description of well-balanced facilities, main groups of surrounding services, principal trends in most demanded spa resorts of Lithuania. The developed model entailed methodological approach to supply and demand in developing a tourism destination, structural analysis of inbound tourism in Azerbaijan, classifications of health, tourism and medical tourism and application of their standards with some examples of case studies from European countries as well as guidance to ecotourism development and proposals for introduction of ecotourism in Azerbaijan. The proposals reflected in the report highlighted crucial issues such as marketing of the Naftalan destination, products diversification in terms of comprehensive development of Naftalan-Goranboy area, strategic tourism planning, general and specific proposals for focusing on further development of health report and cultural life in the area. 

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Picture 1: Preliminary Model of Tourism Services/Resources Potential of Naftalan

 The recommendations under this activity by Lithuanian experts focused on the need for better synthesis of supply and demand and tourist satisfaction, proper and correct adjustment of roles of public-private investors and implementers, tourism education and training, wellness spa and wellness tourism and organization of leisure time for attracting new segments of tourists. 

The Austrian experts as a result of the Activity 4.3 completed developing a model of tourism and recreation area in the ecologically sensitive regions. One of the priority objectives was the product and service development inside “Shirvan” national park, as well as around mud volcanoes located nearby.

As the result of the meeting with the head of volcanism department of Institute of Geology of Azerbaijan Republic, the experts acquired detailed information about the mud volcanoes functioning on the territory of Azerbaijan Republic and reflected this information in general assessment and planning section of their report. It was noted that the compounds of the mud differ from volcano to volcano, which may result in different curative and beauty and wellness treatments which opens up a potential for wellness tourism to be eventually developed within Azerbaijani tourism strategy. 

On an example of a “Bandavan” volcano perspective steps for touristic upgrading was demonstrated by the experts with recommendations to focus on preventive measures against natural and human impacts and develop the site as a tourism hotspot without destroying it (visitors` management) by offering to   experience the nature and the outstanding lunar landscape. The experts developed a zonation planning for the “Bandavan” mud volcano area, which consists from the starting zone, discovery zone and chill-out zone by considering the environmental aspects like biodiversity and nature conservation, consumption of resources, transport, infrastructure, furnishing and planning.

The recommendations of Austrian experts were directed not only at mapping out a national strategy and action plan for the development, but also for protection of this natural heritage. The goal is to develop the touristic potential of the site in an eco-friendly way and to give concrete recommendations how a precious and unique natural site can be designed as touristic attraction in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.

At the same time a comprehensive report for the development of services and products inside the national parks of Azerbaijan Republic was prepared and presented by the Lithuanian expert.

The report embraces wide range of information such as the strengths and weakness of eco-tourism development potential in protected areas of Azerbaijan Republic, most important factors for establishing of ecotourism products (bird watching, wild nature sightseeing, long hiking trips, horseback riding, etc.), opportunities and perspectives for ecotourism development, general requirements for starting ecotourism, identification of ecotourism stakeholders, proposals for ecotourism opportunities in the protected areas, preparation of territorial planning documents and etc.

On the other hand, Lithuanian best practice was also reflected in the report and covered information on development of the environment, present and future status of economy, design, safety, accessibility, examples of tourist route designation, examples of stands in the nature, cognitive paths in the state parks, recreation objects, special view places and etc.

The recommendations provided in the report also focused on importance of adapting the natural resources for visitors` interests and establishing the policy coordination and efficacy firstly between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Environment and Nature resources; between the administrations of national parks and regional and local administrations, as well as improving professional competence when analyzing ecotourism perspective in the Azerbaijan national parks and regions.

The experts recommended that the Ministry of culture and tourism start developing human capacity of the ecotourism sector: to prepare a project “The development and improvement of human resources tourism capacity of municipal administrations”, organize training courses for the staff of the National Parks, guides and to train providers of tourism services on the spot.

 

18.04.2014 / Series of internal trainings continue

 Another “Tourism Destination Marketing” training was conducted for the representatives of the Department of Tourism by MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid and RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite-Chetcuti within the frameworks of the Tourism Twinning project. The training was attended by the employees and heads of sectors for Marketing, Planning and development and Regional development. The training started with the presentation which covered tourism product development, definitions of the inputs and final outputs in tourism production process, tools for creating a destination experience. The speakers shared with the participants some best-practice examples from Europe and around the world on developing the unique tourism products. The training was further conducted in interactive format: participants got actively involved in practical exercises in groups and developed two sample tourism products for voluntarily chosen destinations in Azerbaijan based on the stepwise development schemes presented by Twinning.

By conducting the trainings on the Destination management and Product Development for the personnel, the Twinning team did the best to assist the personnel of the Department of Tourism in discovering unique tourism products in Azerbaijan and exploring advanced creativity tools to build up an attractive and matchless image of the country.

 

04.04.2014 / Twinning project represented at Azerbaijani International Travel & Tourism Fair

 The Twinning project: “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was represented at 13th Azerbaijani International Travel & Tourism Fair at the official stand of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan by MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid and RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite-Chetcuti. The participants got familiarized with the project brochures, got information about the project results as well as asked the project related questions.

13th Azerbaijan International Travel and Tourism Fair, AITF 2014 is taking place from 3 to 5 April in the exhibition complex of Baku Expo Centre and is attended by nearly 300 companies from the 38 participating countries and more than 80 tourism destinations as well as more than 60 hotels from 22 regions of Azerbaijan.

 

 18.03.2014 / Concept for the development of Tourism and Recreation Areas in the ecologically sensitive regions is on the stage of development

 At the beginning of March the experts from Austria and Lithuania specialized in the sphere of ecotourism, jointly initiated to implement the activities of the 4th Component of the Twinning project. 

 The implementation of the mission started from a meeting conducted with the representative of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Republic, which covered the issues related to the national parks and their management plans, budgeting of the national parks, human resources, tourism infrastructure on the territories of the national parks, cooperation between the ministries, role of locals and other matters. The results of the meeting were analyzed at the DoT together with the RTA counterpart, which was followed by the decision to put emphasis on the product and service development inside the national park and to concentrate on the adjacent areas of “Shirvan” national park, “Gobustan” area and the mud volcanoes located nearby. 

In order to get a better understand of the products and services available in the national parks as well as to achieve the planned results in the development of tourism and recreation areas, a familiarization trip to the abovementioned places took place.
As the result of the visit, corresponding assessment works were done by the experts, who are currently working on the development of concrete proposals for ecotourism opportunities in protected areas like ecotourism products, their specifics and diversity, recommendations for a soft touristic development in the territories of the national parks, as well as security aspects and Infrastructure (accessibility, parking lots, itineraries), recreation facilities and etc. It is also planned to do a geological assessment and zonation planning of the selected areas during the coming mission of the experts.

 

20.02.2014 / Internal training conducted

Tourism Destination Marketing training was conducted for the representatives of the Department of Tourism by MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid within the frameworks of the twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan”. The training was attended by the employees of the marketing sector, planning and development sector as well as the deputy director of DoT and the heads of the sectors took part in the meeting. The presentation started by giving the insight into the recently developed Tourism Marketing Strategy for 2014 – 2016 and also covered several topics related to the basic tools for efficient practice-applied destination marketing. 

 A big interest was shown by the participants to the various topics and real life examples reflected in the presentation like tourism destination marketing value-chain approach, customer journey, communication life cycle, rethinking marketing, storytelling in tourism, blogging tips, e-mail marketing, destination marketing applied offline communication tools, promotion and etc.

It is also planned to organize the additional internal trainings which will take place in the upcoming month.

 

17.02.2014 / The 4th Steering Committee Meeting of the Twinning Project upcoming

The 4th Steering Committee Meeting of the Twinning Project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” will be held on February 21st, 2014 in the RTA office.

The Meeting will focus on discussion of the 4th Quarterly Report, covering the period from – November 15th 2013 - February 15th 2014 and planning for the next project’s period. The project team will highlight the results of the activities accomplished mainly within the 3rd Component of the project, as well as present the recommendations regarding the further actions. One of the crucial topics of discussion will be a recently created model developed by Lithuanian experts for promoting vocational education and training in Azerbaijani hospitality sector as well as the model for “Tourism and Recreation Areas” developed on the example of the city of Naftalan, which was selected as the most suitable destination for the pilot project. On another hand, a model for destination management will be also discussed as the result of the Study visit of Azerbaijani delegation to Lithuania (key findings from the study visit will be considered). A respective presentation, which covers the above mentioned issues, will be delivered by the twinning team to the participants of the meeting.
Members of the Steering Committee - the BC Project Leader Mr. Nazim Samadov and the MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite Chetcuti and RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov as well as the representative of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaijan will be participating at the meeting.

 

 07.02.2014 / Study visit to Lithuania

A Study visit Program organized within the frameworks of the last component of the EU Twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” took place in Lithuania from 19th till 26th of January 2014.
During the study visit Azerbaijani delegation led by the deputy minister Mr. Nazim Samadov, head of regional development sector Mr. Mahir Gahramanov and the RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov met with different tourism institutions and key tourism stakeholders and exchanged their experience in the field of tourism. The study visit covered several meetings, which took place at the headquarters of the following institutions: Druskininkai Municipality, Druskininkai Tourism and Business Information Centre, Birshtonas Municipality, Lithuanian Rural Tourism Association, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Economy in charge of tourism policy in Lithuania and etc.
Moreover, Azerbaijani delegation also attended “ADVENTUR” International Tourism Fair and visited the University of Vilnius.
The meetings covered several discussion topics related to different aspects of tourism. The most important issues included the role of IT in the sphere of Tourism, planning of the health resorts, development tendency of rural and other types of tourism in Lithuania, the role of Health Resort Associations in the development of tourism, work organization of the institution, coordination of work, planning, marketing and etc.
A special attention was given to the Lithuanian practice in the system of social deductions for the holidays of retirees, Lithuania participation at Bazel-Zulfer tourism fair for attracting Russian speaking Germans – natives of USSR and CIS, practice used by Lithuanian TICs in transporting mobile exhibition stands for multiple usage, available camping sites of Lithuanian TICs (could be adopted by Azerbaijani TICs), practice of Druskininkai crafts school and practice in reorganization of formerly municipality owned Health resorts into self-sustainable institutions.
The RTA Counterpart Mr. Mammadov noted about the possibility to offer Azerbaijani trade unions to switch to self-sustainability in return to the contracts and contribution for the participation. On another hand, based on the Lithuanian experience, he also emphasized the feasibility of new funding mechanism for Azerbaijan which could be used by construction companies to obtain a loan and initiate a construction project on condition that the loan payback is gradually carried out by either the Government or municipalities.
In the case with the Tourism Support Foundation a scheme of issuing the grants in Druskininkai (350 000 litas for 10 working places) was taken as a good practice to introduce.
Among the other best practices during the study visit the participants noted the ongoing active work in the National Parks of Lithuania with the available excursion programs for students, specific rules and limitations for the tourists to attend the park, construction limitations and already existing products like campgrounds, pedestrian itineraries, bicycle and water roads, information stands, lessons in nature, gathering mushrooms and berries and other regulations, which could be applied in the National Parks of Azerbaijan.

 

07.02.2014 / Model on improving the vocational and educational system developed

Model

 Within the 3rd component of the project under Activity on development the “Action Plan on promoting vocational education & training in the hospitality industry” a mission of Lithuanian experts visited Azerbaijan in January 2014. As a result of the mission week a research in the field of tourism vocational education training has been conducted by experts covering the present stance of the vocational education and training in tourism area and all studies and developments brought in by public and international initiatives.

As part of research a comparative analysis of numerical indicators of within the 3rd component of the project. Azerbaijan and Lithuanian tourism sectors was carried out, the latter experiencing rapid developments after gaining independence. With the purpose to identify the gaps in Azerbaijani tourism indicators the mission compared various aspects such as revenues from tourism receipts, numbers of hotels and hotel rooms, tour operators, higher education institutions with tourism specialties and training institutions, labor force mainly from touristic companies and hotels.

The overall analysis of the VET system in Azerbaijan revealed the major problems such as limited capacity to develop skilled professionals in the regions - especially the lack of certified teachers, lecturers, a low number of tourism professionals employed by education, poor English language skills, negative impact of seasonality on labor market, lack of continuous training for professionals in tourism sector, lack of motivation (due to low salaries which leads to poor results and in this case low quality of services for a tourist) as well as the lack of monitoring and regularly performed market researches on the changing needs of the market.

Taking the above mentioned issues into account a relevant model was developed by the experts, which implies the strengthening of collaboration between institutions, increasing the tourism sector competencies in the regions and fostering of public-private partnership projects. The collaboration between Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ministry of Education is considered to be important, as both institutions are involved in training of tourism professionals. The experts proposed that the improved cooperation and coordination can be achieved using the directions of VET system development listed in the planning documents: in the VET strategy and tourism strategy which are currently being prepared.

They also supported the initiative of establishing Tourism Support Foundation and proposed that one of its functions could be the promotion of tourism professionals in the region. Relying on successful functioning of territorial labor exchange centers in Lithuania, the experts proposed to establish such territorial labor exchange centers in the main regions of Azerbaijan, which would serve as intermediary bodies and, taking into account the needs of the tourism sector, would announce tenders for short term (3-4 months) educational programs, courses and follow- up programs. Such training programs could be organized by VET regional schools, tourism information centers travel agents, colleges and private training centers. The funding of such courses could be assigned by Tourism Support Foundation. The recommendations also covered quality of services with proposal on regular monitoring of the quality of tourism services through research which should become the priority of Azerbaijan Tourism Institute in cooperation with tourism NGO’s.

 

16.01.2014 / Minimum standards for the hotels and hotel type accommodations approved!

As already mentioned before, the extensive work was carried out under the 2nd Component of the project and several issues related to the secondary legislation, necessity for creating the minimum standards for restaurants, tour operators and travel agencies, consumer protection standards were considered and the assessment report “Analysis of regulatory sector framework in force and identification of needs for secondary legislation” developed.
Besides this, a special attention was given to the preparation of the minimum standards for hotels and hotel type accommodations, which were immediately submitted for consideration to the corresponding governmental bodies.
As the result of the abovementioned inputs, the State Committee on Standardization, Metrology and Patents of Azerbaijan Republic officially approved the minimum hotel standards, which were brought into operation starting from the January 14th and followed by the order number 004.

 

13.01.2014 / Twinning project is ready for the start of the 4th Component!

 The twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” started the implementation of 4th Component. As mentioned before, one of the activities of the component implies the development of the model for “Tourism and Recreation Areas” on the example of Naftalan city, which was selected as the most suitable destination for the pilot project. Naftalan is a city located in 320 km north-west of the capital city, Baku and in 48 km south-east of the second largest city of the country – Ganja. The word “naftalan” refers to the healing oil, extracted from the city of the same name. Naftalan oil has no analogues in the world and all in one, it is used to treat over 70 medical conditions. 

By understanding the healing potential of the city and in order to create the base for the future research, the team of the Department of Tourism at their own efforts prepared a detailed Marketing Analysis of Naftalan. The analysis includes product identification for the city of Naftalan, identification of needs for the product, comparative analysis of Naftalan sanatoriums, marketing research by TALC model, SWOT analysis, Target Audience Definition, as well as some statistical information.
As a part of the 4th Component, the Lithuanian experts, who are specializing in the field of recreational zones, have already arrived in Azerbaijan and are ready to start implementing the activity. During the first 2 days of work at the department of tourism jointly with the BC counterpart, they will set up concrete goals on the assignment on developing the model for establishment of tourism and recreation area. The model shall cover 10 years development period.
As a follow-up to the work done at the Department of Tourism, the foreign experts accompanied by the representative of DoT will travel to Naftalan city and Goranboy region in order to meet with the key tourism stakeholders like hotel and sanatorium owners, regional representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Economic Development, heads of the regional executive powers in order to get the relevant information.
As the result of the abovementioned activities, the project’s expectations are concluded in creating a totally new tourism destination development model on example of Naftalan city and make it applicable in other regions of the country. The model will cover different stages for development in order to reach the number of tourist arrivals in soviet time that comprised over 100.000 tourists per year. The regional work agenda for the experts is already composed and the twinning project is ready to implement the activity.

 

 To our associates, friends and those, who were following the progress of the project: All of us at Tourism twinning project wish you peace and happiness this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year

Initiated in February 2013, the Twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” has successfully completed the activities of the first 3 components for the year 2013. During this timeframe the activities like the preparation of a proposal with the functional specifications for an effective and efficient NTA in Azerbaijan, analysis of the regulatory sector framework in force and identification of needs for secondary legislation, preparation of draft texts for the secondary legislation, conduction of a consultative process with sector stakeholders, assistance to the Department of Tourism for Statistics and the meeting in the State Committee for putting in place a basic set of valid tourism statistics, proposals for better environment for SMEs in tourism, preparation of a national tourism marketing strategy and it’s approval by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, and many other planned tasks have been successfully implemented and ranked positively by the beneficiary side. Moreover Austrian study tour for the representatives of the MCT and the workshops on “Regional and Local Tourism Planning and Management” organized in Ismayilli and Lankaran also turned to be as the inherent part in achieving the project’s expected aims and expectations.
By taking the abovementioned into account it can be easily said, that approximately 70 % of planned project’s outcome is completed.
Therefore in the first quarter of the upcoming year the project’s time will be largely allocated for the 4th component as a whole. One of the main upcoming tasks of the last component is to create the model for “Tourism and Recreation Areas” on the example of Naftalan city and make it applicable in other regions of the country. On the other hand a second study visit will also take place. This time the representatives of the MCT will visit Lithuania and get familiarized with the key tourism stakeholders and as on the example of Austrian study visit, they will again have a chance to gain the experience and apply it on practice.
At the end, the project’s achievements will be summarized for the final closing conference, and will be presented at the disposal of the Department of Tourism as the toolbox for the further implementation.

 Once again, the Twinning team joins in wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!

 

 

26.11.2013 Achievements of the project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” over the 3rd quarter 

Twinning project has successfully accomplished the planned activities for the 3rd quarter of 2013. The activities have captured various tourism aspects of high priority such as the organization of regional workshops, issues of licensing, development of marketing strategy, establishment of tourism foundation and statistics.
In September workshops named “Regional and Local Tourism Planning and Management” were successfully organized by the project in Ismailli and Lankaran. The project experts familiarized the participants with core principles of Tourism Destination Management, shared with them success stories from Austrian practice and preconditioning aspects as well as developed ideas towards their particular destination management. The audience of invited participants included representatives of local departments of Culture and Tourism from Ismailli and Lankaran and surrounding regions, local administration and municipalities, tourism information centers, museums and national reserves, hotels and mass media.
At the beginning of November the resident twinning advisor Daiva Chetcuti and project expert responsible for the legislative component Michael Raffling have been in the Delegation of the European Union in Azerbaijan and met with the Head of Operations Federico Berna and Task Manager Parviz Yusifov. During the meeting the new Licensing law was discussed and the EU Delegation had identified some hardships in conditions in terms of licensing fees which could be hindering small and medium enterprises to get into tourism business as well as hampering rural tourism in regions. Also the project experts explored the possibility to propose within the legal component of the project efficient legislative amendments to the draft Tourism law in order to contribute to facilitate the conditions and regulation of rural tourism.
At the same time a former Chief Executive of the English Tourist Board, Tim Bartlett, who visited Azerbaijan in October as a short-term expert - worked for four weeks in close collaboration with the Department of Tourism (DoT) on the development of a three-year Tourism Marketing Strategy (2014-2016). The Strategy, which has now been fully drafted and agreed with the DoT, emphasizes the necessity for more focus on shortlisted markets in order to make maximum use of limited resources. It has identified the nine overseas target markets on which Azerbaijan should concentrate over the next three years. The strategy also determines the appropriate tourism products for these markets, the key demographic segments to target and the most effective channels of communication to utilize. Moreover, the necessity to create a network of oversees representatives by raising the awareness of the country and other key tasks and aspects have been also mentioned in the strategy.
The issue of Tourism Support Foundation was also not left aside. The representative of the Austrian Tourism Bank Gerfried Brunner visited Baku to provide further inputs and support the Department of Tourism with advice on the establishment of a tourism support foundation. The idea is to propose EU best practice example of the Austrian Tourism Bank, functioning as a similar foundation in Austria, which with over 40 employees is successfully supporting about 1500-2000 SME tourism projects a year. The proposed task for the tourism foundation in Azerbaijan would be defining the portfolio strategy closely linked to General tourism strategy and Government’s priorities. Foundation shall be responsible for creating comprehensive Guidelines of the subsidy-program for investors; provide learning and training opportunities for employees in tourism industry. The core task shall be collection, identification and evaluation of the projects in terms of priority and general economic viability with the financial consultations to entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to the financial benefits the foundation shall help to transfer know-how in tourism.
The quarter was summarized by the repeated visit of the Former Director General of Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office Mr. Peter Hackl. The expert participated in the Workshop “Tourism Statistics”, which was held at the State Statistics Committee. During the meeting a presentation was delivered describing the present status of tourism statistics based on the official publications of the Statistics Committee, by defining the positive and negative aspects in structure of developing the current statistical data. Moreover, the issues like the tourism flow statistics, accommodation and touristic establishments, tourism expenditures as the key concern of tourism statistics, sources of information used by SSC for analyses and generating statistical data, frequency and time span coverage of SSC border surveys, tourism statistics satellite accounts and the format of delivering the statistical data by the SSC for public have been also considered.

 

The results of the above mentioned activities will be confirmed and achieved in the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting, which will be held on December 3rd 2013 in the RTA office.
A corresponding presentation, which covers the above mentioned issues, will be delivered by the twinning team to the participants of the meeting. Moreover a separate attention will be paid to the upcoming objectives of Component 4, which is to assist the Department of Tourism in leading the process of establishing and managing a model of ‘’Tourism and Recreation Areas’’ for already selected Naftalan area as the most suitable tourism zone for a pilot project.
Members of the Steering Committee are the BC Project Leader Mr. Nazim Samadov and the MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite Chetcuti and RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov. The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaijan will be represented by Mr. Parviz Yusifov as project manager.
In addition one component leader from the Member States, Mr. Peter Hackl (Component 3) as well as other representatives from the beneficiary, the PAO and the ITTSO II project will present at the meeting.
Eventually by the help of the discussions and feedbacks on already existing achievements within the frameworks of the above mentioned concerns, the project experts together with the representatives of the Department of Tourism will be able to finalize the results and will present a complete solution regarding the applicability of theory on practice as one of the planned tasks of the 3rd Component of the project.

 

 

 

  

 15.11.2013 Workshop: How to achieve the accuracy of tourism data conducted at the State Statistical Committee


On 12th November the Component 3 expert Dr. Peter Hackl, former Director General of Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office, participated in the Workshop “Tourism Statistics”, which was held at the State Statistics Committee. The workshop was attended by the Head of Tourism and Catering Statistics Department, Mr. Rauf Aliyev, Head of Service Statistics Department, Mr. Elchin Hajiyev, Deputy Head of Coordination of Statistical Work Department, Mr. Farhad Aliyev, Leading Advisor Ms. Gunel Qadirova and representative of the Department of Tourism.
Dr Peter Hackl delivered a presentation describing the present, very advanced status of tourism statistics based on the official publications of the Statistics Committee, as well as shared his findings, impressions and views regarding the gaps and bottlenecks in structure of developing the current statistical data. He also spoke about the tourism flow statistics, accommodation and other touristic establishments, and tourism expenditures as the key topics of tourism statistics and raised the public reporting resources available on tourism statistics.
Separate attention was paid to the sources of information used by SSC for analyses and generating statistical data. Based on this the expert shared his view on bottlenecks existing presently at each of the sources used for generating the statistical data, and emphasized the negative aspects which impedes the SSC to observe the dynamics in terms of arrivals from various countries, seasonality of inbound visits dictated by purposes and market dynamics in general. Also the expert put forward a number of questions regarding the reliability of information provided by accommodation establishments.
In the course of discussion the SSC staff and the MS expert also agreed upon concerns regarding the frequency and time span coverage of SSC border surveys.
Regarding the future plans and expected activities, the SSC informed that there are broad plans to create tourism statistics satellite accounts and expressed hopes to include them also into the synopsis of an expected twinning project in official statistics.
The participants of the workshop also exchanged experiences on practices and tools used in the statistical production processes and in the development of statistical products in Azerbaijan and Austria. By the end of discussion the expert shared some recommendations regarding the format of delivering the statistical data by the SSC for public.

 

  

13.11.2013 The Department of Tourism is on the path for change (2014-2016 Tourism Marketing Strategy approved)

  MStrategy 

On 8th November MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid together with the BC Project Leader and Deputy Minister Mr. Nazim Samadov, RTA Counterpart Mr. Fikrat Mammadov, Head of the DoT Mr. Aydin Ismiyev and Deputy Head of the DoT Mr. Rauf Pashayev have met with the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. Abulfas Garayev to present the proposal of the Tourism Marketing Strategy 2014-2016. MS Project Leader Florian Sengstschmid delivered a presentation which covered the marketing objectives, core themes, SWOT analysis, identification of primary source markets, product-market mix, budget and other key information. 

As follow up to the meeting, on 13th November the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Abulfas Garayev has approved the Marketing Strategy. The approval of the strategy will be followed by one year action plan with detailed actions and budget allocations.

For more information concerning the Marketing strategy please contact:
Ms Daiva KIRKILAITE CHETCUTI
Resident Twinning Adviser | EU-Twinning Project
Ministry of Culture and Tourism | Republic of Azerbaijan
t:   +994 (12) 4371180
e:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
w: http://www.tourism-twinning.eu

 

 

12.11.2013 Workshop on “Tourism Statistics” to be held on 12th November at State Statistics Committee

 

On 12 of November the Component 3 expert Dr. Peter Hackl, former Director General of Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office, will participate in the Workshop “Tourism Statistics”, which will be held at the State Statistics Committee.The workshop will be attended by the Head of the Sector for Tourism Statistics, Mr. Rauf Aliyev, and the Head of Service Department, Mr. Elchin Hajiyev. Dr. Hackl will deliver a presentation on the status of tourism statistics from the point of view of the Tourism Twinning project to the representatives of National Statistics Committee. The presentation will give an overview of the current situation of tourism statistics, focus on the statistical processes and related quality issues, and discuss customer needs and improvement potentials. Ways to use more data from administrative sources, gaining efficiency and improving the quality of the statistics and reducing the response burden on business will also be a topic. 

Moreover by taking into account that the new twinning project is expected to start at the State Statistics Committee, the work done by the expert will ensure that the upcoming research and work of the future project in the field of tourism statistics will not be repeated, and instead, supplemented by already existing results.

 

 

 

01.11.2013  Tourism Twinning supports the idea for the establishment of a SME-Tourism Development Foundation for Azerbaijan

 

Tourism twinning in a cooperative mood

As a follow up of the AZ study tour to Austria and the meeting with the representatives of the Austrian Tourism Bank in Vienna, this week Mr Gerfried Brunner, representative of the Austrian Tourism Bank was a visiting expert in Baku. The purpose of his mission was to provide further inputs to the feasibility developed by Fikret Mamedov of the Department of Tourism with advice on the establishment of a tourism development foundation. The tourism foundation is supposed to provide small and medium sized enterprises operating in the tourism sector state subsidized low interest loans to encourage investments, improve quality, enhance cooperation; facilitate business start-ups in the SME sector; offer specific expertise for tourism development; serve as a knowledge base and database for the tourism sector and for the government, and improve innovation in tourism. The idea is to propose a EU best practice example of the Austrian Tourism Bank, functioning as a similar foundation in Austria, which with over 40 employees in Austria is successfully supporting about 1500-2000 SME tourism projects a year.

The proposed task for the tourism foundation in Azerbaijan would be defining the portfolio strategy closely linked to General tourism strategy and Government’s priorities. Foundation shall be responsible for creating comprehensive Guidelines of the subsidy-program for investors and banks; provide learning and training opportunities for employees in tourism industry. The core task shall be collection, identification and evaluation of the projects in terms of priority and general economic viability with the financial advice to entrepreneurs and investors.

The twinning project team made recommendations related to main objectives of such a foundation and identified the main benefits for the stakeholders. Economic significance of financial support schemes for the SME structured tourism sector is evident. It creates value and ensures wealth by creating more domestic and foreign holiday traffic and more foreign currency receipts. In the same time it creates new jobs and enables regional development and destination management. From the financial side such an initiative reduces the risk of rural exodus and capital flight. Another important objective of the tourism foundation is to support the development of the private sector: attractive investment environment, widespread private ownership, increased investment in the non-oil sector, development of sustainable infrastructure of local business advisory service. In addition to the financial benefits the foundation shall help to transfer know-how in tourism. 

 

30.10.2013  Support the preparation of a three year National Tourism Marketing Strategy and one year Action Plan (Component Three)

Short-term expert Tim Bartlett, a former Chief Executive of the English Tourist Board, recently visited Azerbaijan for four weeks to work in close collaboration with the Department of Tourism (DoT) on the creation of a three year Tourism Marketing Strategy (2014-2017).

The Strategy, which has now been fully drafted and agreed with the DoT, emphasises the necessity for more focus in order to make maximum use of limited resources. It has identified the nine overseas target markets on which Azerbaijan should concentrate over the next three years. It has also defined the appropriate tourism products for these markets, the key demographic segments to target, and the most effective channels of communication to utilise. It recommends that Azerbaijan should build up a network of overseas representatives in order to develop productive relationships with important media and travel trade contacts in the identified source countries.

The overall aim is to build the sustainable success of tourism in Azerbaijan – with dedication, commitment and in joint partnership with tourism stakeholders. Key objectives are:

· To create a tourism industry that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable;

· To raise awareness about Azerbaijan as a holiday, business and adventure travel destination; and

· To enhance the attractiveness of Azerbaijan as a differentiated and branded high-quality destination that can compete effectively in international markets

The Marketing Strategy is designed to facilitate the development of separate detailed Action Plans. The DoT and the Member State Twinning Team are now working, as a supplementary part of Component Three, on an Action Plan for the first year (2014). Using the same template, DoT staff will keep the action plan updated and write new ones in subsequent years.

  

29.10.2013 Better environment for SMEs in tourism

On October 28th 2013 the RTA Mrs. Daiva Chetcuti and Component 2 Leader Mr. Michael Raffling have been in the Delegation of the European Union in Azerbaijan to meet the Head of Operations Mr. Federico Berna and Task Manager Mr. Parviz Yusifov.  The subject of the discussion was the new Licensing law which is currently under elaboration at the Ministry of Economic Development and the conditions proposed to entrepreneurs for obtaining licenses to run tourism accommodations and activities.  The EU Delegation had identified some hardships in conditions in terms of licensing fees which could be hindering small and medium enterprises to get into tourism business as well as hampering rural tourism in regions. For this reason the project experts shared their opinion and expressed willingness to explore if within the legal component of the project they could propose efficient legislative amendments to the draft Tourism law in order to contribute to facilitate the conditions and regulation of rural tourism.

The Twinning project meets Baku International Rotary Club 

On 23rd of October the RTA Mrs.Daiva CHETCUTI took the floor as the guest speaker at the meeting of International Rotary club held at HYATT Conference Center. The RTA presented the Tourism Twinning project to the audience of about 25 club members comprising of representatives of local and international business circles . She spoke about the specifics of Twinning instrument, raised statistical figures in tourism the project experts are working with, highlighted the project purpose and targets, explained the mechanisms of tourism management proposed by the Twinning staff as well as the project achievements during the beginning quarters in terms of re-organization of the Department of Tourism. During the presentation the Rotary club members actively participated in the discussion on the presented SWOT analysis which is an integral part of the proposed Marketing strategy for the Department of tourism of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. The international members expressed their opinion on strengths and weaknesses of tourism development in Azerbaijan and wished the RTA successful completion of the Twinning project.

 

 Achievements of the ongoing Twinning project presented during the celebration of the World Tourism Day

On 27th September 2013, the World Tourism Day was celebrated within the conference held in Fairmont Baku hotel and organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 

MS Project Leader Florian Sengstschmid congratulated the tourism stakeholders with the World Tourism Day and saluted Azerbaijan’s acceptance to the UNWTO executive council and presented the main achievements of the ongoing Twinning project

 

“The second quarter of the project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” summarized

On September 18th the EU-funded Twinning Project held the 2nd Steering Committee Meeting to update the members of the SC with the summaries of the 2nd Project quarter progress covering the period from May 15th – August 15th 2013.

 

The Steering Committee was attended by the permanent SC members - MS Project Leader Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Daiva Kirkilaite-Chetcuti, Component 2 Leader Michael Raffling, BC Counterpart Fikret Mammadov, Deputy Head of the DoT Rauf Pashayev and invited guests - Operations Expert of the ITTSOII supporting project Afgan FAYZIYEV and Principal Advisor of research and development department of the Azerbaijani tourism Institute Julius ARNEGGER.

 

The twinning project presented the participants core information on activities implemented and goals reached under Components 1 and 2 of the project, which target the efficiency-oriented improvement of organizational structure of the DoT and partial update of the legislative framework undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism. The detailed report on the 2nd Quarter had been provided the SC members prior to the meeting for comments.

Within the framework of Component 1 an organizational structure of the DoT highlighting the functional revisions was developed and proposed to the Ministry as well as analysis of NTA organizations and a number of initiatives to elaborate clear business processes on professionalizing marketing and communication of Azerbaijan as tourism destination.
Significant event in the second quarter was the study tour to Austria in which high ranking officials from the DoT participated and got familiarized with efficient models of industry associations of Austria, public schemes for supporting SMEs and rural tourism.

 

Extensive work was carried out under the 2nd Component and resulted in the Assessment report “Analysis of regulatory sector framework in force and identification of needs for secondary legislation” developed by MS experts. Apart from this the issues related to the secondary legislation, necessity for creating the minimum standards for hotels, restaurants, tour operators and travel agencies, consumer protection standards were considered within the component 2 of the project. The meeting was also supplemented by different proposal like rural tourism development in Ismailli city and Lankaran region proposed by EU and supported by the twinning team.

 

At the same time the beneficiary side informed the participants about the work done by the ministry, which included the information like researches conducted on outbound tourism markets, exploration of the visa regimes, air and land connectivity, the analysis of alternative communication ways to Azerbaijan and etc.

 

>Moreover the attention was also given to the visibility and communication plan, which was prepared by the twinning team. It was noted that main objectives of this plan is to reflect all efforts of the project by making all activities visible in terms of distributing the information online, publishing news in local newspapers and taking photos from the events. Austrian Study Tour was mentioned as the example, where Azerbaijani delegation led by the deputy minister Mr. Nazim Samadov participated in 16 different meetings. The value of experiences and their future implementation acquired from the Austrian Study tour was emphasized and discussed among the participants. At the same time a good practice brought by the Lithuanian experts during their mission in Baku was also considered. Based on this practical knowledge, participants touched upon the issue of Azerbaijani Tourism Information Centers, by mentioning the possibility of building a model on decreasing their dependencies from the government programs and extending their sustainability.

 

The meeting was concluded by different questions raised among the participants. It was noted that next Steering Committee will take place in December 2013, while the precise date will be announced in close time.

 

“Regional and Local Tourism Planning and Management” workshops held in Ismailli and Lenkoran on 10th and 12th September 2013

Within the framework of Component 1 of the EU-funded Twinning Project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” workshops dedicated to “Regional and Local Tourism Planning and Management” were held Ismayilli (Ismayilli Vocational Educational Centre) rayon and Lenkoran (“Gala” Hotel) on 10th and 12th of September 2013.

 

The workshop was organized at support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and under the supervision of the twinning team which included: MS Project Leader Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Daiva Kirkilaite-Chetcuti, Component 1 Leader Ferdinand Posnik and a representative of DoT.

 

Wide and diverse audience of invited participants included representatives of local departments of Culture and Tourism from Ismailli and Lenkoran and surrounding rayons, local administration and municipalities, tourism information centers, museums and national reserves, hotels and mass media.

 

The purpose of the workshop was to familiarize the stakeholders with core principles of Tourism Destination Management, share with them success stories from Austrian practice and preconditioning aspects as well as to build a dialog with participants targeted at developing ideas towards their particular destination management.

 

The MS Project Leader Mr.Florian Sengstschmid and the short-term expert Mr.Ferdinand Posnik delivered a presentation which covered the tourism destination marketing, product development, value-chain approach, life-cycle of tourism destination, destination branding and other related issues and made a particular stress on similarity of focal tools which can be used to turn a geographically and historically exuberant region into an attractive tourism destination regardless of location of the destination.

 

In the atmosphere of active interaction the participants at each workshop sessions shared their views on developing the unique character of their destinations. Moreover, they spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of their destinations, among the primary stressing the availability of natural resources, geographic location, and among the latter - problems like the low quality level of services, need for qualified professionals as well as general managing skills, proficient presentation of destination and bundling of tourism routes.
The participants also mentioned some threats for currently attractive and popular destinations pointing out that authentic handmade crafts are getting assimilated with imported ones, thus breaking the uniqueness of the destination components. Availability of easily accessible homestays preferred by tourists to hotels and providing low services was also raised in discussion as one of the bottlenecks to solve.

 

The Twinning experts recommended at both workshops that tourism stakeholders from each region find a common platform for developing ideas and directing actions with the aim to improve their tourism destination, since making the destination different and unique can be made only by people who are aware of visible and unrevealed advantages of their location and can build relevant stories and experiences around the regional places of interest and enhance the professional skills of the tour guides.

 

By the end of the workshop sessions the participants emphasized the importance of such workshops, as they carry a useful knowledge, which could be used in tourism development sphere and provided their feedbacks by filling in the evaluation forms.

 

The second Steering Committee Meeting of the Twinning Project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” upcoming 

The second Steering Committee Meeting of the Twinning Project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” will be held on September, 18th 2013 in the RTA office.

The Meeting will be focused on discussion of the 2nd Quarterly Report, covering the period from May 15th – August 15th 2013 and planning for the next project’s period. The project team will present the proposed organizational structure of the DoT highlighting the functional revisions and results and the Assessment report “Analysis of regulatory sector framework in force and identification of needs for secondary legislation” developed by MS experts. The BC Project Leader is also expected to present a report on the study tour to Austria for BC counterparts organized by the EU Twinning project which took place during the 2nd Quarter.


Members of the Steering Committee are the BC Project Leader Mr. Nazim Samadov and the MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite Chetcuti and RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov. The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaijan will be represented by Mr. Paviz Yusifov as project manager.


In addition one component leader from the Member States, Mr. Michael Raffling (Component 2) as well as other representatives from the beneficiary, the PAO and the ITTSO II project will present at the meeting.

 

Workshop on “Regional and local tourism planning and management” to be held by EU Twinning Project on 10th and 12th of September 2

The workshop on “Regional and local tourism planning and management” with particular emphasis on sustainable tourism is planned to be organized within the framework of the EU Twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” in Ismayilli and Lankaran regions on 10th and 12th of September 2013. The workshops will be organized under the supervision of the twinning team which includes: MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite-Chetcuti, RTA-assistant Mrs. Chinara Rasulova and Component 1 Leader Mr. Ferdinand Posnik. The workshop will be also attended by the Head of Domestic Tourism Division Mr. Mahir Gahramanov. The main goal of the workshops is to provide the audience (tourism stakeholders) with theoretical and practical knowledge on Tourism Destination management in Azerbaijan. The workshops envisage delivery of presentation by MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, covering the issues like tourism destination marketing, product development, value-chain approach, life-cycle of tourism destination, destination branding and other related issues. The workshop participants will also have opportunity to take an active part by debating over a quiz to be organized during the presentation and are very much welcome to ask tourism related questions at the end of the workshop. 

  

Activity 1.3 - Study visit to Austria June 23 – July 1 

A Study Tour Program organized within the frameworks of the EU Twinning project “Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan” took place in Austria from 23d of June – till 1st July 2013.

During the study tour Azerbaijani delegation led by the deputy minister Mr. Nazim Samadov, deputy head of the DoT Mr. Rauf Pashayev and the RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov has met with different tourism institutions and key stakeholders (CEOs of the Austrian governmental and non-governmental institutions, department & sector directors, head of the offices, owners etc.), as well as exchanged their experience in the field of tourism. The study tour has covered 16 meetings, which took place at the headquarters of the following institutions: Austrian Hotel Association, MRP Hotels consulting, Austrian National Tourist Office, Mondial Congress, Minopolis Wien, United Nations Development Organization, Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (Directorate for Tourism), Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Austrian Tourism Bank, Statistics Austria, University of Applied Sciences Krems, Salzburg State Tourism Board, Salzburg City Tourism Board, Austrian Farm Holidays, Austrian National Park Hohe Tauern and Salzburg State Government. The meetings have covered several discussion topics related to the different aspects of tourism. The most important issues included the work organization of the institution, coordination of work, tourism planning, marketing and interrelation with other governmental bodies, collection and processing of statistical data, regional marketing and branding, quality standards and classification, waste products utilization on the territories of national parks and several other issues. Moreover a MoU on cooperation within the framework of regional development program was signed between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Нilfswerk Austria NGO, as well as several other proposals and agreements have been also considered with other institutions during the study tour. 

Overall Azerbaijani delegation has obtained a significant amount of theoretical and practical knowledge, analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of Azerbaijani tourism market based on the experience of Austria, revealed new marketing strategies, ideas and innovations within the field of tourism and is currently ready for further necessary steps followed by the applicability of the results on practice, adaption of new techniques and improvement of the tourism sphere of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

 

Baku, June 6, 2013: Brainstorming Workshop in the frame of Activity 2.1

An internal workshop of the EU Twinning Project will be held on June 6, 2013 at the premises of the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The workhop is organized in the frame of component 2 "Draft secondary legislation and executive acts on regulating and promoting the tourism sector to complete the legislative framework". Overall objective of the component 2 is to identify primary and propose secondary legislation on regulating and promoting the tourism sector with consideration of the European Union's norms, standards, promotional tax policy and best practices.

Topics of the workshop:

11:00 - 12:00   Introduction of conceptual needs assessment

12:00 - 13:00   Open discussion by the participants

Participants from the Beneficiary Country are Mr. Fikrat Mammadov (RTA counterpart) and Mr. Namig Gulamov (Law Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism). The Member State Partners are represented by Mr. Florian Sengstschmid (Project Leader), Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite Chetcuti (RTA), Mr. Ferdinand Posnik (Leader of Component 1) and Mr. Janez Sirse (short term expert). 

 

Baku, June 5, 2013: The first Steering Committee Meeting

The first Steering Committee Meeting of the Twinning Project "Strengthening the capacity of the the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan" will be held on June, 5 2013. The upcoming Meeting will focus on the discussion of the first Quarterly Report, covering the period from 14th February to 15th May 2013 and planning of activities in the next project's period.

Members of the Steering Committee are the BC Project Leader Mr. Nazim Samadov and the MS Project Leader Mr. Florian Sengstschmid, RTA Mrs. Daiva Kirkilaite Chetcuti and RTA counterpart Mr. Fikret Mammadov. The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaidan will be represented by Mr. Paviz Yusifov as project manager. 

In addition two component leaders from the Member States, Mr. Ferdinand Posnik (Component 1) and Mr. Michael Raffling (Component 2) as well as other representatives from the beneficiary, the PAO and the ITTSO II project will present at the meeting.

 

Baku, May 15, 2013: Study Tour to Austria in June 2013

The Twinning partners are organizing a study visit to Austria between June 24 and July 1, 2013. Selected experts from the beneficiary partner will have the opportunity to see best practices in the field of tourism like the key public institutions dealing with tourism in Vienna: the Ministry of Economy, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the National Tourism Organisation (Österreich Werbung). Mondial, a leading Incoming Tour Operator, the Austrian Hoteliers Association, the Austrian Convention Bureau and the Austrian Tourism Bank will respresent the private sector. The tour will include the regions as well like Krems, where the University will welcome the partners from Azerbaijan which whom a long and outstanding cooperation is active. In Salzburg, the next region to visit, the tour will encounter Salzburg State Government, Salzburg State Tourism Board, City of Salzburg Tourism Board, the Convention Bureau and the Austrian Farm Holidays Association. Before turning back to Baku, special attention will be given to the protected Austrian National Park Hohe Tauern with its stunning natural resources accessible for tourism. (DKC)

 

 

Baku, April 4, 2013: Kick-Off meeting at Baku EXPO-Center

The Kick-Off Meeting of the EU Twinning Project "Strengthening the capacity of the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan" has been held on 4th of April 2013 at the Baku EXPO Center in the frame of the 12th International Travel & Tourism Fair in Azerbaijan. The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Abulfas Garayev, the Ambassors of the European Union, the Member States Austria and Lithuania participated on the first event of the project and gave speeches. Over 80 representatives of travel enterprises and beneficiary partners have taken active part at the event. (DKC)