In a bid to double the current in-bound tourism by 2023, Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) plans to pump in Rs 200 crore on marketing in priority markets. Apart from India, other markets which have shown a significant increase in visitors to the destination include the UK (27%), China (64%) and Germany (22%).
Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of Azerbaijan Tourism Board, “We will be investing 6-7% of the overall marketing investment, about Rs 71 crore on the India market. The company is looking at doing direct investment on advertising platforms, marketing partnerships and other tourist-based platforms apart from trade shows and roadshows.
In a bid to further increase visibility for the destination, ATB plans to go for influencer marketing, association with Indian movies and building on India’s love with TikTok. “We will be doing a TikTok (India market specific) campaign soon and would now like to focus on solo travellers and families,” Sengstschmid said.
Recently, a Telugu movie was shot in Azerbaijan. Last year, filmmaker David Dhawan had also announced that Coolie No.1, starring Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan, would be shot in the country. “We are definitely looking forward to Bollywood and other OTT shoots in Azerbaijan and our rep offices have received interests for the same,” he added. The visitor mix for the destination comprises mainly corporate events, weddings, solo travellers and families and ATB’s marketing team has been targeting the platforms accordingly. “We will now be reaching out to more cities besides Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore,” he shared.
ATB has also made investments to develop the product portfolio of the country to meet the varying needs of the Indian market which includes adventure activities like skiing, hiking, private jeep tours to the mountains, cultural experiences such as vineyard tours, art and music festivals, and golf for the sports enthusiasts. “2020 is full of possibilities as we look to attract corporate, wedding and leisure travellers from the region to Azerbaijan. We are opening new visitor centres at the unique mud volcanoes site and working on new tourism products like hiking, trekking, and bird-watching among others. We are also looking forward to welcoming a number of film crews to discover our spectacular landscapes, including summer countryside and winter ski slopes, adventure trails, and more.”
Azerbaijan has witnessed an exponential growth in tourism across the capital city of Baku and other key regions with the number of Indian visitors going up by 66.8 per cent compared to last year. The spike comes just over a year after ATB unveiled the “Take Another Look” campaign in India in 2018. “The number of visitors has increased from 16,000 in 2017 to 35,000 in 2018 to 65,000 in 2019,” Sengstschmid revealed.
The Azerbaijan Tourism Board is also working towards finalising a three-city roadshow across Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and aims to connect with airlines and tour operators in the country. Indian carriers are also currently assessing the market and the potential for flight connectivity.