Tourism creates solid basis for small and medium businesses by being a favored part of the region’s economy. Development of tourism in the region helps to create new jobs, plays an important role in shaping the infrastructure of the region. All of these eventually create favourable basis for successful implementation of the chief provisions of the State Program on socio-economic development of regions covering the 2008-2013 and State Program on poverty reduction and economic development. Due to the successful implementation of these state programs, the poverty rate has decreased dramatically, the number of the unemployed fell to minimum. In addition, planned development of the production field in Gabala is associated with the development of the tourism industry as well.
Every year the current tourism objects in Gabala participate in the prestigious exhibitions, world-class specialized fairs and demonstrate its tourism products in the market. People working in the tourism sector of the region are well aware of how to meet the foreign tourists, what they want to see, which traditions they wish to be familiar with, which dishes of our national cuisine they like more, which service they prefer. Therefore, the owners of hotels and recreation centers, the persons providing services to clients in region do their best to ensure joyful and meaningful relaxation of the guests.
Natural climatic conditions of the region open new perspectives for the development of tourism as well. The northern side of Gabala with various reliefs belongs to the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the central part to Alazan-Haftaran valley, the southern part to Ajinohur upland. This is not by accident that the highest mountain peak of the republic- Mount Bazarduzu (4466 meters) is located in this region.
Climate of Gabala is warm-temperate with dry winters in low areas, cold and damp in high mountains and the annual precipitation is 500-600 mm in the south, and up to 1600 mm in the northern high mountains. These factors create opportunities for the development of summer and winter tourism in the region. Beautiful scenery attracts businessmen to invest capital here. The noisy mountain rivers of the region as Demiraparanchay, Turyanchay, Tikanlichay, Bum river, Vandam river and other small rivers, Mujukh and Yeddi Gozel waterfalls, beech, oak, hornbeam, juniper, chestnut forests covering 60 thousand ha territory, mineral and non-mineral springs are among the most visited and desirable places to see by tourists.
Gabala, one of the most beautiful places of Azerbaijan, is also popular with numerous historical monuments, artifacts. These historical monuments link the history of Gabala back to thousands years ago. This fascinating country is very rich with the ancient history, traditions, folk art specimens. On moving any stone, setting foot on any part of Gabala, which has glorious past and has been the capital of Caucasian Albania for hundreds of years, you can see traces of our history thousand years ago. Every stone, every tree, every rock of Gabala is living history, invaluable pearl left to us by our ancestors.
The remains of ancient Gabala city, located in Chukhur Gabala village, stone mounds in various parts of the region (III-I millennia BC), mausoleum complex in Hazra village (XIV-XV centuries), necropolis in Nij settlement (ancient period), Heydar Aliyev Museum, the local history museum, memorial Museum of I.B.Gutgashinli, the museum in memory of the martyrs are among the most visited places by tourists. It should be noted that 93 historic cultural monuments of the region was taken under the state protection by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers. One of them-remains of ancient Gabala city is included to the list of the world’s most significant archaeological sites. Eight architectural and 53 archaeological monuments are of country, while others are of local importance.
Gabala Tourism and Hotel Business Vocational Training Center, that prepares qualified personnel for the development of the tourism sector in the region, successfully operates in providing tourism objects with cadres in various parts of the country. Cadres on hotel administrator, accountant-personal computer, barman-barmaid-waiter, cook, pastry cook specialties are prepared in the training center.
Due to the deliberate policy of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev’s worthy successor President Ilham Aliyev, today all regions of the country, as well as Gabala develop rapidly. Socio-economic development of the region and the rich tourism potential lays the foundation that Gabala will become one of famous tourism centers in the world in the foreseeable future. It is not a mere coincidence that the President Ilham Aliyev attends the opening of the new five-star hotels and recreation centers, gives valuable recommendations on the further development of tourism during his visits to Gabala. Businessmen, inspired by this care, carry out the construction of new hotels and recreation centers in order to apply more modern tourism services of the world in the region and to amaze tourists.
Gabala hosted a number of international mass cultural events in recent years that, in its turn, has repeatedly increased the number of people coming to the region for working visit and for recreation. The world-renowned musicians of approximately 20 countries around the world attend Gabala International Music Festival that has already become traditional and held each summer. Hundreds of local and foreign music lovers come to Gabala for listening to live classical music performed at the festival. Guests attend the music festival, simultaneously recreate in modern tourism objects of the region, become familiar with, historical monuments and watch its unearthly beauty. Although the tourism season in the Gabala region officially starts on June 15 every year, an intensive influx of tourists to the area is observed already since mid-May.
The number of local and foreign tourists, who visit Gabala in order to be in contact with the exotic nature of the region, to enjoy miraculous cuisine of Azerbaijan and to have interesting relaxation, increases every year. Today, more than 100 large and small tourism objects are operating in Gabala. In recent years, the number of tourism objects in Gabala has reached 18, experiencing 5 times increase.
Throughout the day, generally about 2,500 guests in these objects can be provided with restaurant services including national, Turkish and European cuisine and services as modern hospitality, trip to forest, horseback riding, fishing, and boat tours in the lake, trip to sightseeing and historical monuments of the region. Moreover, tourists benefit from “Gabaland” recreation and entertainment center, fitness health centers, sauna, massage salon, Turkish bath, and the disco services attached to hotel.
High mountains, green forests, fresh air, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, picturesque places of this land attract everyone. Advertising boards of these objects are put in different parts of the region, printed booklets reflecting types of services and prices are distributed, as well as information tours to Gabala are organized with participation of tourism companies, journalists.
Having a look at the dynamics of the development of tourism in the region, we can notice that influx of tourists to this place continues on the ascending rate. It is gratifying that a large number of those among them are interested in our culture and historical monuments.
In the region, distinguished by unique natural climatic conditions, mineral springs, sapphire landscape, located over the historical Silk Road, and famous for the remains of Gabala city, the capital of ancient Caucasian Albania, the skilful use of great tourism opportunities caused the rapid increase in the number of tourism-recreational complexes in the private sector. Particularly, the five-star “Qafqaz Resort”, “Qafqaz Riverside”, “Qafqaz Sport”, “Qafqaz Karvansaray” hotels, “Gabaland” recreation and entertainment center, “Sarin mesha”, “Duyma”, “Karvan”, “Yeddi gozal”, “Sahil”, “Selbasar”, “Ay işighi”, “Yengija”, “Khanlar”, “Chanlibel”, “Soyug bulag”, “Gilan”, “Gabala”, hotels and recreation centers are recently constructed tourism objects and all the conditions have been created here for meaningful, heart-warming recreation of the guests. Five-star hotels operating under the Caucasian brand are among the most advanced countries in terms of the level of service.
The project is implemented for the development of winter tourism in Gabala. Recreation and entertainment objects are constructed to go in for skiing and other kinds of winter sports in the mountains. Today, Gabala experiences its second youth period and in the process of returning to its former glory. International level events that are held in Gabala every year once again confirm it. In a nutshell, due to its rapid development in recent years, Gabala has become one of the most beautiful tourism cities of Azerbaijan.In brief, the region’s positive image is being formed in the tourism sector. Statistics of recent years and marketing research allows us to say that this year the number of foreign visitors who wish to vacate in Gabala and want to become more familiar with the regions will be more than previous years.Most of them strive to visit this wonderful place for becoming familiar with the local culture, the others for being in contact with the exotic nature of Gabala, as well as for tasting Azerbaijani cuisine as a witness of the Eastern hospitality, while the others for experiencing and confirming the most pleasant feelings that they have heard about Gabala from their friends and relatives.