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Press release 10 March 2016

Comments by Hikmat Hajiyev, MFA Spokesperson on ITB 2016 International Tourism Fair and promotion and abuse of occupied territories of Azerbaijan as “tourist destination”

Back In 2009, official Yerevan made a provocative attempt to arrange the participation of the illegal regime established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia at ITB tourism fair in Berlin, however, it was prevented by Azerbaijani side. As a result of effective measures taken by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Federative Republic of Germany, the participation of the illegal regime at the ITB Berlin tourism fair with a separate pavilion has been prevented since then.

However, this year by deceiving the organizing committee of the tourism fair, they registered an organization under a different name in commercial terms. On the starting day of the exhibition they hung "Karabakh" poster at the same pavilion. By such behavior as lies and fraud, unlawful regime once again demonstrates the nature of their criminal mind.

The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in contact with the organizers of the event is taking the necessary measures to abolish this stand.

Armenia continues to exploit tourism as a tool for its annexationist policies. In particular, tourism is being abused by Armenia to propagate the illegal entity created in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as an outcome of occupation, aggression and ethnic cleansing and generate financial means to consolidate the results of the occupation.

The Republic of Azerbaijan brought to the attention of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at its 99th Session, held in October 2014 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the issues pertaining to abuse of tourism for political purposes, such as promotion of hazardous destinations, including conflict zones and territories under unlawful military occupation, as tourist destinations, which violates international law, contravenes the fundamental aims of tourism set forth in the Statute of UNWTO and the Principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism approved by the UNWTO and endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

The UNWTO Executive Council at its 100th Session, held in May 2015 in Rovinj, Republic of Croatia, having considered recommendations of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics entitled “Prevention of Promotion of Conflict Zones as Tourism Destinations and Using Tourism for Illegal Purposes”, made on the proposal of the Government of Azerbaijan, unanimously adopted a decision urging “governments, as well as public and private stakeholders in the tourism sector, to observe and respect the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as well as all ethical principles embodied in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, in all circumstances, including during armed conflicts.”

The Code stresses the requirement for tourists and all tourist stakeholders to act in full respect of laws of the visiting countries and to refrain from committing any criminal act or any act considered criminal by the laws of the country visited.

Guided by the Statute of the UNWTO, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, relevant decisions and recommendations of the UNWTO Executive Council, we urge all States and all tourist stakeholders to take effective measures to prevent promotion and abuse of occupied territories of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.

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