UNDP RR's speech at Opening ceremony of the Educational Training Center for trainingNov 25, 2013
Dear Minister Garayev, dear students, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you at the opening of the Educational Training Centre for training of qualified personnel for the tourism sector of the Baku Tourism Vocation School. This event is exceptional to me because I participate here in double capacity: as a representative of the donor organization that, along with the Government, has contributed, to the upgrade of the School, and, being a foreigner, as one of the future beneficiaries of the project and a client of the school graduates.
Over the past six decades, tourism experienced continued expansion and diversification, becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world that generates 9% of global GDP and accounts for 6% of global exports. Many new touristic destinations have emerged apart from the traditional favourites of Europe and North America.
An ever increasing number of destinations have turned tourism into a key driver of socio-economic progress through export revenues, the creation of jobs and enterprises and infrastructure development. Globally, 1 in 11 jobs is generated in the tourism sector.
Azerbaijan belongs to one of the fast - growing new destinations in Europe. According to UN World Tourism Organization, in 2012 Azerbaijan has seen 27% increase in the number of international arrivals, and this figure is projected to grow.
Tourism is commonly recognized as key to development, prosperity and well-being. In the context of Azerbaijan, tourism industry is critical for economic diversification and regional development, as prioritized in the Azerbaijan’s development strategy - Vision 2020.
Every day we observe the noticeable breakthroughs that the country has made in terms of infrastructure and facilities for the tourism industry. We witness construction of modern resorts and world famous hotels brands, and growing number of high-profile international events bringing foreign guests to Azerbaijan.
This is an extremely positive sign for the economy. But the infrastructural advancement should be complemented by strong and professional human resources base for the tourism sector to be able to provide high professional service to tourists and to be competitive with neighbouring countries.
We commend the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to modernize the Baku Tourism Vocational School as a concrete example of ‘Converting black gold in human gold’.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Minister, for continued partnership with UNDP, and reaffirm our interest and readiness to support you in future intiatives.