Israel's companies always strive to work in Azerbaijan based on trust between two countries - Israel's Minister of Tourism (Interview) (PHOTO/VIDEO)

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 7. Israel's companies are always striving to work in Azerbaijan because there is trust between the countries, Minister of tourism of Israel, Co-Chair of the Azerbaijan-Israel Joint Commission Yoel Razvozov, who is on a visit to Baku, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

“The program of the visit was very rich. I represent not only Israel's Ministry of Tourism but also the Israel-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission. Co-Chair from the Azerbaijani side, Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov and I are holding a number of meetings, particularly on increasing turnover between the two countries, as well as on cooperation in other economic areas. A lot of work has been done, and we are currently working on the next steps. During the visit, my first meeting was with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. We had a very warm meeting and discussed issues on the promotion of both states. I have also met with Minister of Youth and Sports Farid Gayibov, Minister of Defense Industry Madat Guliyev, and Chairman of Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) CJSC Jahangir Askarov. All these meetings were fruitful,” the minister said.

Razvozov noted that Israeli companies and Azerbaijani government agencies concluded two agreements.

“We have signed documents with the State Tax Service of Azerbaijan, as well as with Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Management OJSC, and many more agreements are yet to be signed,” he said.

Yoel Razvozov also talked about the negotiations with the leadership of AZAL.

“We agreed with the head of AZAL on increasing the number of flights provided by the company from two to five a week. Israeli companies are also to increase air travel to Azerbaijan. The presence of direct flights promotes the growth of tourist flow, thereby developing cooperation in tourism. The increasing number of flights always depends on economic factors. While 10,000 Israeli tourists visited Azerbaijan in 2016, this figure rose to nearly 50,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating a demand for the growing number of flights. There is also a big flow of tourists from Azerbaijan to Israel,” the Israeli minister said.

According to Razvozov, the opening of the Trade and Tourist Offices in Israel by Azerbaijan in 2022 will contribute to the business development between the two countries.

“It was a great honor for me to participate in the opening of the office, which was also attended by Chairman of Azerbaijan's State Tourism Agency Fuad Naghiyev. The office is located in a very good place in Tel Aviv. This bureau will help attract tourists not only from Israel, but also from all over the world,” he said.

The minister noted that Azerbaijan is an interesting tourist destination for Israelis.

“Azerbaijan has a lot of sights, as well as Israel has many attractions to be of interest to Azerbaijani tourists: Tel Aviv (a city of start-ups that is 24/7 alive), Eilat, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, Israel develops gastronomic, wine and ethnic tourism. I think the Israelis may show interest in Azerbaijan's winter tourism. Azerbaijan is a wonderful country with nine types of climate zones out of eleven existing ones. After the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we are waiting for Azerbaijani tourists in our warm country. We sorely hope for cooperation in this direction,” added Yoel Razvozov.

Noting that Israel and Azerbaijan are celebrating the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations this year, the minister stressed that tremendous work has been done during this time.

“Colossal work has been done over 30 years, and now both countries are working on doing a lot more. Therefore, together with Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov, we discuss setting up a platform for promoting economic relations. We are working to create the most favorable business conditions. Israel's companies are always striving to work in Azerbaijan based on trust and good relations between the two countries,” he added.

Razvozov outlined close friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Israel.

“These relations are of a strategic nature. Israel has always recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and welcomes its restoration. Israeli companies are ready to participate in liberated Karabakh projects such as water supply, the construction of smart cities, as well as cooperation in the energy sector. In case of demand, Israeli companies will also show interest in operating flights to Fuzuli International Airport. I think these days are not far off,” he said.

In conclusion, the minister highly appreciated Azerbaijan's tolerance towards various peoples living in the country.

“The Jewish community in Azerbaijan has always peacefully coexisted with representatives of other peoples. During the visit, I went to two synagogues in Baku and was pleasantly surprised by the religious tolerance of the country's leadership, which was expressed in the support of the Azerbaijani Jewish community. This is very valuable for Israel, and we are grateful to the Government of Azerbaijan for this,” Razvozov said.