Chinese travel platforms see surging searches on Azerbaijan, after it announces visa-free policy for Chinese travelers

2024-07-05 08:41:33Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Multiple Chinese online travel platforms witnessed growing searches on Azerbaijan related tourism products, as the Caucasus country announced on Wednesday to implement one-year unilateral visa-free policy for Chinese citizens.

Data from Chinese online travel platform showed that the search volume of Azerbaijan-related tourism products saw a 50-percent increase after the news was made public. During the current summer travel peak, the order volume of Chinese mainland's tourists traveling to Azerbaijan rose by 85 percent year-on-year, and the volume to three Caucasus countries - Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan - jumped by 103 percent, the data showed.

Now, Beijing and Urumqi in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have direct flights to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. Another online travel platform Fliggy told the Global Times on Thursday that the volume of flight tickets booked to Azerbaijan increased by 336 percent in 2024 as of July 4.

China is one of the major travel destinations for tourists in Azerbaijan, according to Azerbaijan Tourism Board, and meanwhile, a total of 23,153 Chinese citizens visited Azerbaijan in 2023.

As of now, the three Caucasus countries, including Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have all announced visa-free policy to Chinese tourists. Armenia and China lifted mutual visa requirement from January 19, 2020, and Georgia and China waived visa requirements for travelers from both countries starting May 28, 2024.

In recent years, some niche travel destinations such as in the Caucasus area, Central Asia and the Balkans become favorites for Chinese tourists, boosted by recovering international flights and visa facilitations, Jia Jianqiang, CEO of Beijing-based online agency 6renyou, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The visa-free policy aims to develop tourism in Azerbaijan and further expand the country's economic, people-to-people and cultural ties with China. A joint statement released by the two countries stated that the two countries decided to upgrade bilateral relations to strategic partnership.

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