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Importance of improving infrastructure along tourism corridor

Importance of improving infrastructure along tourism corridor

Economy
10 December 2019, 15:40 183
If we want to develop tourism, increase the tourist flow…
 
"One of the most important problems of the country is the low level of service of restaurants and cafes along the tourist routes, and lack of public restrooms.” These remarks, addressed at the Azerbaijan Tourism Summit a few days ago, have raised the concerns of not only the people of the country but also the incoming tourists. "This worries tourists traveling to the regions. It is gratifying that work on these matters is already underway and is about to be finalized. The construction of public restrooms in designated areas along the tourist corridors is planned. Up to 50 facilities will be built in this area” – it was noted in the summit. Indeed, the low level of service, cafeterias, and restaurants along the routes to the regions, the lack of sanitation facilities and the inadequacies are among the issues of concern.
 
According to experience in foreign countries, there are cafes and restaurants and public restrooms along the tourist routes from one city to another. Passengers eat food, drink tea or coffee at high-quality cafes and restaurants, and use clean restrooms. If we take into account that this model is well-established in European countries and is extremely pleasing to tourists, the importance of applying this experience on our tourist routes is unavoidable.
 
Konul Nuriyeva, Senior Advisor of the Tourism Policy and Strategy Department of the State Tourism Agency, said visits were made to restaurants, hotels, wineries in 25 touristic regions to conduct training. "During those visits, an assessment was made on what type of training was needed in the tourism facility. From March to April of next year, the training will not be limited to just hotels, restaurants and wineries. At the same time, we plan to carry out training in rural guest houses, tourist resorts, and sanatoriums, farms, as well as training for guides operating in national parks,” she said.
 
Nuriyeva noted that the construction of public restrooms along the travel routes is an important issue. "Thus, at the initial stage, it is proposed to create public restrooms along the roadsides in Shamakhi, Ismayilli, Oguz and Gabala areas to improve their structure. Regarding the criteria for selecting these zones, the most visited places by tourists will be considered,” she added.
 
Ruslan Guliyev, head of the Millenium Tourism & Congress DMC, said that the issues of improving the quality of service in cafes and restaurants along the roads and public restrooms were also included in the Strategic Road Map for the development of specialized tourism industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan. "Earlier surveys conducted among tourism industry representatives on the question "In which locations is it important to have public restrooms?" and locations on routes mentioned during interviews with hotel officials in the region should be considered. For example, it is important to create such facilities on the South, North and West routes, as well as on the Baku-Absheron route and at all points along the Silk Road. There should be public restrooms every 50 km,” he said.   
 
Tourism expert Jeyhun Ashurov noted that the Strategic Roadmap for Tourism provides a solution to these types of problems. "Before cafes and restaurants did not meet modern standards, sanitary standards were not up to date, or the number of restaurants and cafes that were up to date was very limited. There were shortages in public restrooms. If you want to develop tourism and provide tourist flow, these issues should be addressed on the agenda. If there are several stops on the tourist routes, it will have a significant impact on the perceptions of our country and the tourists' destinations. Imagine that a bus has to stop at least twice during a 2-3 hour round trip to any area from Baku, places for eating and drinking, public restrooms need to be clean and up-to-date. All of this is part of the overall tourism chain. They must complete each other. From this perspective, it is a serious problem. Whether it is the problem of public restrooms or the level of service of restaurants and cafes, I believe that these problems will be solved in the near future,” he said.
 
According to Ashurov, serious work is being done in this direction together with local executive authorities. "From now on, there will be certain requirements or recommendations for facilities on existing and future tourism routes to meet certain standards,” he added.
 
Advisor to the Chairman of the Azerbaijan Tourism Association, Muzaffar Agakarimov, believes that improving the quality of public catering services along the roadside and meeting sanitary and hygienic standards are important. "In particular, sanitary and hygienic norms are not followed, and the public restrooms are in poor condition. Operating catering establishments should pay special attention to these rules. Naturally, this creates discontent among tourists. This forms a perception of our image and the tourism industry in general. In addition, there should be plenty of sanitary facilities in the city so that tourists can use these during excursions,” he said.
 
Agakarimov noted the low level of service in cafes and restaurants. "There are many complaints about this. Also, the pricing policy needs to change because the prices are very expensive. There is a strange paradox: catering establishments raise prices, but there is no service. Dissatisfaction occurs when they demand ten manats for a one manat service. In particular, they sometimes require deposits in cafes, restaurants before customers even sit down. This can also cause tourists' discontent. Improving the level of such services to attract tourists to the country is an important issue,” he added.
 
However, there are some new models in our country. For example, although there are modern facilities that provide services, such as pit stops for drinking tea, eating, clean restrooms, and health centers, there is a need to expand their number and to operate them throughout the tourist routes in the country. As they say, one swallow doesn't make a summer. 
 
Tarana Maharramova