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Journal number 3 ∘ Ramzi Elbrus Abdullayev
The impact of the development of rural tourism in Azerbaijan on the social and economic sphere



Effective use of tourism has a special place in the development of the economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Problems arising in the field of efficient use of tourism in the Republic are a cause for concern. In the article, the importance of the development of this field is emphasized, along with the directions of the impact of the development of rural tourism on the social and economic sphere.

The article shows the use of tourism in the economic development of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the existing problems in this field, as well as the importance of international experiences. At the end of the article, in addition to showing the existing problems in improving the impact of the development of rural tourism on the social and economic sphere, suggestions for the development of the tourism sphere were given.

Key words: tourism, rural tourism, global economic crisis, concept of sustainable development, health tourism. 


It promotes the development of tourism services and production areas for the tourism sector, trade in goods and transport areas, catering facilities, excursion bureaus, and industrial areas. The elimination of borders also boosted the development of the tourism sector. The field of tourism, which is the word "travel" without a fan, is the most active type of mass recreation, travel, and health in modern times.

Together with the development of scientific and technical progress, the changes in people's living conditions have accelerated in recent years. This development manifested itself in work, family, food intake, and increased demand for recreation areas. Along with the improvement of people's living conditions, the development of new fields of activity also took place. In general, there is no longer a form of tourism that can be called the perfect standard of recreation. It is no longer possible to imagine the development of modern tourism in its standard form. The fact that these people are tired of the noise of big cities and the flow of calmness somewhere gave impetus to the development of rural tourism. In the past, tourism was mainly dominated by sea travel, resorts, sanatoriums, and highly equipped holiday homes, but now rural tourism development is attracting more interest.

Rural tourism. Rural tourism, which provides complex tourist services in rural and regional areas, is more important in terms of profitability as well as in terms of accessible infrastructure. Despite the fact that there are enough projects and studies for the development of rural tourism, the development of this field is predicted in the near future.

Rural tourism, which provides recreation for both domestic and foreign tourists, has aspects that are radically different from other tourism sectors. In order for the economic development efficiency indicator to be at a high level, the development of the internal regions of the republic should be studied more deeply, and the negative and positive aspects of the development of this area should be shown. From the point of view of the topic, the development perspectives of rural tourism are considered urgent issues.

Fresh air, sun, and pure water, which are all matters of strengthening health, are irreplaceable factors in human health. The development of rural and sports tourism can be more promising together. Rural tourism development is currently considered one of the income-generating areas.

Thus, according to the statistics of the World Tourism Organization, rural tourism is of particular importance to world tourism income. According to the pace of development in the world, after oil, petroleum products, and car sales, the tourism sector is considered to be one of the most profitable sectors. In addition to the research on rural tourism, which surpasses many areas of the economy with its pace of development, it is considered one of the most important issues to solve the problems that have arisen in this area.

We can show the relationship between rural tourism and other tourism areas with the help of the following picture.

Figure 1.

Tourism areas related to rural tourism


Source: Image compiled by the author.

As can be seen from Figure 1, agrotourism can be understood as showing and demonstrating rural life and economic activity, along with the poor development of rural tourism. Among them, geotourism and speleotourism—caves and underground natural resources combined with geological research—are of special interest. Although both fields, geotourism and speleotourism, are similar in concept, they have many different aspects.

In terms of profitability, medical tourism has a special place in the development of rural tourism. Absheron, Naftalan, Nakhchivan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and its surrounding regions, which were liberated from occupation, are considered to be the most important centers of medical tourism in Azerbaijan.

Although exotic and ecotourism are close to each other in terms of tourism, they cover different areas in terms of development. The field of exotic tourism is not developed in Azerbaijan. World experience shows that the countries with the highest level of exotic tourism development are India and Africa. Ecotourism, or ecological tourism, is a type of nature tourism. Azerbaijan has not developed well in this field.

Taking into account the presence of historical and archaeological sites in the villages, it is one of the areas close to development for the Republic of Azerbaijan, which is rich in historical monuments. Sports tourism is also considered one of the weakest-developing areas in Azerbaijan. Considering how extensive sports are, it would be more acceptable to create suitable rural tourism destinations.

In the development of rural tourism, it is necessary to take into account both positive and negative factors affecting tourism. Today, when talking about economic development, it is impossible not to talk about the issue of risk. These factors should be taken into account. It is necessary to mention the natural-geographic and cultural-historical factors of rural tourism. So, based on these factors, the shape of the tourism area is determined. In terms of economic efficiency assessment, the natural factors located in the area are among the most important factors affecting tourism. After natural-geographic factors, ancient buildings and historical factors play a more important role.

Economically developed countries with high national incomes have a high standard of living. In countries with a high standard of living, people pay more attention to their health and recreation, and the people of these countries have more indicators in the world tourism market.

Thus, the improvement of people's material conditions affects the improvement of their living standards. On the contrary, economic crises have a negative impact on the development of tourism. In modern times, citizens of developing countries not only put little financial resources into tourism but also try to get an income from it.

From this point of view, the development of rural tourism in the Republic of Azerbaijan has a positive effect on production and service areas, budget revenues, and the development of foreign trade. The development of rural tourism leads to an increase in employment and income for the population. One of the main factors of economic development, along with the development of production areas, is the development of rural tourism, which has an effective effect on preventing inflation.

Reconstruction of development directions of rural tourism in Azerbaijan

Tourism is one of the areas that contributes to the rapid development of our national economy. The special attention paid to this area by the state made it necessary to make tourism one of the most important areas of our national economy. In many economic literatures, rural tourism has sometimes been studied by equating it with ecotourism and, in other cases, with agrotourism. Nevertheless, as shown in Figure 1, each village tourism form has its own destination and specific characteristics. Rural tourism has a role in socio-economic development. Rural tourism has a special importance in international tourism markets. From this point of view, the study of scientific and practical issues related to the development of rural tourism, the leading role of tourism in the growth of employment, the increase of incomes, the effective use of local recreation resources, and the future development of tourism are considered urgent issues.

The development of existing rural tourism infrastructure in Azerbaijan—construction of parks and boulevards, construction and restoration of buildings, widening of roads, etc. is one of the factors that have a positive effect. The economic indicator of rural tourism is one of the special factors affecting the volume of tourist flows. The decrease and increase in the total number of tourists in the volume of tourist flows in rural tourism is one of the main values of the efficiency indicator in this field. In rural tourism, the length of stay of vacationers should also be taken into account. In recent years, the development of rural tourism has been observed at a special level in the international community.

Rural tourism ranks third and fourth on the globe, after oil and industry, in terms of income in contemporary times, despite the fact that it develops more slowly than other sectors in the majority of economic sectors.

Table 1

Travel agent and tour operators








Number of travel agents and tour operators, unit







Number of employees, people







Income of travel agents and tour operators, thousand manats

36 758,3






Product (service) production costs, thousand manats

29 101,8






The number of tourist tickets sold, units

36 978

44 066

49 992

63 885

5 342

9 811

The value of the sold tourist tickets, thousand manats

33 466,5




4 988,4


Number of received and sent tourists, people

63 543

77 587

83 722

99 507



Source: Tourism in Azerbaijan Statistical publication 2022 Statistical publication 2022, page 101 (-13 pages). 

As can be seen from Table 1, the number of travel agents and tour operators increased by 28 in 2020 compared to 2016 and decreased by 122 in 2021 compared to 2016. The number of employees at travel agents and tour operators is of particular interest. While 962 employees worked in 150 travel agencies in 2021, in 2020, 1,464 employees worked in 300 travel agencies, and in 2016, 1,838 employees worked in 272 travel agencies. It can be concluded that only in 2019, 2205 employees worked in 432 travel agencies. This leads to the fact that rural tourism is of special importance in terms of providing employment to the population. In terms of solving the problem of employment for the rural population and the creation of special infrastructure in rural areas, it helps to open a new perspective. The number of people living in rural areas in the Republic of Azerbaijan can be clearly seen in Table 2. (1, 13)

Table 2

Change in population, thousand people 


Population size


As a percentage of the total population

Urban areas

Rural areas

Urban areas

Rural areas











































Source: https://www.stat.gov.az/source/agriculture/

As can be seen from Table 2, in 2022, 53 percent of the population of Azerbaijan will live in cities, and 47 percent will live in villages. If we take into account that due to the lack of jobs in rural areas, the representatives of the young and middle age group are forced to work in the city. The development of the tourism sector in rural areas will provide employment to at least 20-30% of the population, which will lead to a decrease in the level of unemployment in the country.

International Tourism started the first year of 2023 with strong determination. Thus, compared to the same quarter of 2019, the flow of international tourists in the first quarter of 2023 reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels. A year-over-year recovery of 66% was boosted by strong results in Europe and the Middle East. Thus, compared to the same period in 2022, international tourism increased by 86% in the first quarter of 2023, showing continued strength at the beginning. In the first three months of 2023, approximately 235 million tourists went on international trips, which is twice as much as in 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, Europe reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels, supported by strong intra-regional demand. Africa and the Americas reached about 85% of 2019 levels in the first three months of 2023. Arrivals in Asia and the Pacific rose to 54% of 2018 levels. International tourism revenues are expected to reach $1 trillion in 2022, a 50% increase in real terms compared to 2021. 70% of the UNWTO Panel of Experts survey indicates that higher performance is likely in May-August 2023. In response to the difficult economic environment, tourists are expected to travel more this year. (8) 


The development of tourism in Azerbaijan and the formation of the legislative framework are connected with the name of national leader Heydar Aliyev. Thus, the restoration of the Historical Silk Road, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Tourism (July 27, 1999), the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism (June 18, 2001), etc. are clear examples of this. Today, there are important issues in the development of rural tourism in the Republic that are considered urgent. Thus, there is a need for the development of internet service in the information base that helps rural tourism in the regions. The lack of a centralized online internet system leads to a lack of information about the villages, which reduces the number of people who want to vacation in the village. When tourists want to go on vacation, they can choose which village to stay in, which house to stay in, or rent as much as they want in advance.

A number of projects are used for the development of tourism in the Republic of Azerbaijan. It should be noted that the role of the state in the development of tourism, especially rural tourism, is undeniable. The exchange of tourism flows at the international level is within the interests of the state. Unhindered development of the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in Azerbaijan in all its forms was not possible. Thus, in a socially oriented market economy, the state tourism policy and, most importantly, the development of rural tourism should be carried out in the following directions:

- Selection of social and economic conditions to ensure appropriate development of rural tourism in Azerbaijan;

- Selecting directions for increasing the competitiveness of rural tourism;

- Selection of rural tourism development strategies in territories liberated from occupation;

- Paying attention to the preservation of national mentality along with international standards in rural tourism;

- Improving the well-being of the population by using the advantages of charming nature and national cuisine;

- Ensuring the development directions of rural tourism in international tourism.

These directions are important when passing through the state regulation function and directing the spontaneous development of the state in tourism and the interest of the population. In this area, it is necessary to first identify the legal parties, and then identify the problem areas in determining the economic base.

It is possible to show the areas covered by the above-mentioned measures as follows:

- Carrying out work in the direction of training qualified personnel in the field of tourism, regardless of the form;

- Supporting small and medium entrepreneurs in the tourism sector in rural areas;
- To organize the information base on rural tourism in the country;

- To organize the production of the national product of rural tourism in the country.

It should be noted that the quality of rural tourism as a producer of tourism services should be determined by fulfilling its customers. If a village can develop with its products or services, the activities of this area can be protected from external influences.

Reference list:

  1. Tourism in Azerbaijan: Statistical publication 2022 Statistical publication 2022, page 101 (13 pages)
  2. A. Azizov Entrepreneurship in tourism in Azerbaijan (in Russian) Baku, 2012, p. 307.
  3. A. Balabanov, I. Balabanov, Tutorial-M.: Finances and Statistics, 2003, p. 170.
  4. A. Alirzayev, E. Alirzayev, "Socio-economic problems of Azerbaijan: conceptual approach, financial-budgetary, and interdisciplinary forecasting mechanisms". Baku, 2012, p. 423.
  5. Alirzayev, A. Q., Economics and Management of Tourism Baku: "Economics University" Publishing House, 2011, 494 pages.6. B. A. Bilalov, Ch. G. Gulaliyev. Basics of Tourism. Baku: "NGO Publishing House", 2015, 496 p.
  6. https://www.stat.gov.az/source/agriculture/
  7. https://www.e-nwto.org/doi/abs/10.18111/wtobarometereng.2023.21.1.2