People from 16 more countries will be able to enter Azerbaijan using the ASAN electronic visa system from May 15. The ASAN system was launched in 2016 and over 420,000 tourists have taken advantage of the scheme.
The Chairman of the ASAN service said that citizens of China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, Israel, the UAE, and Djibouti, will be granted ASAN visas.
The ASAN visa system was designed to make the process of obtaining a visa for Azerbaijan both quicker and cheaper. It was originally made available to citizens of 81 countries but it has now been expanded because of improvements to the system.
Eligible applicants can submit an online application by filling in the necessary information and paying an online fee. The eVisa is then sent to the applicant in three days. There is also an option to get one in three hours if it is urgent.
The launch of the ASAN Visa system has helped to facilitate tourism in Azerbaijan. In 2017 the number of foreign visitors entering Azerbaijan increased by 20 percent compared to 2016 and reached over 2.5 million people.
However, the rise of tourism in Azerbaijan is not purely because of the electronic visa system. The number of visitors visiting neighboring countries has also increased and the Azerbaijan Government has taken other steps to facilitate tourism.
The 'Land of Fire': where east meets west
Known as 'the land of fire', Azerbaijan is an east-meets-west destination which a fascinating and rich history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road, the country has changed hands numerous times. It has fallen under the occupation of many of the great powers including the Persian, Russian, Turkish empires.
Hiking is a very popular activity in Azerbaijan as the landscapes are varied and beautiful and include mountains, beaches, gorges, deserts, forests, waterfalls, and volcanoes. It is possible to see a wide variety of wildlife including bears, leopards, wolves, and rare bird species (especially in the Caucasus).
Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and there is a growing number of popular attractions to see there including UNESCO world heritage sites, mosques, museums, art galleries, and theatres. There is also a range of attractions aimed at children such as play centers and parks.
Because of its unique history, food in Azerbaijan has been influenced by many other countries and is a fusion of Turkish, Iranian, Caucasian, and Mongolian cuisine. Grapes have been growing in Azerbaijan for thousands of years and as a result, there are also some world-class vineyards.