Destinations in Asia are coming up with new products and experiences as part of their post-pandemic tourism recovery strategies.
Azerbaijan, which is now open to fully vaccinated travellers from 29 countries, is focusing on developing its ecotourism and heritage potentials; while Nepal is expanding its destination focus from adventure tourism to cultural and entertainment to cater to different types of visitors.
Speaking at PATA Travel Mart Forum last week, Florian Sengstschmid, CEO, Azerbaijan Tourism Board, said that there are a lot of ongoing renovation and restoration works at cultural and historical sites, such as Khinalig, the highest village in Azerbaijan, which is on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Being home to 80 per cent of the world’s mud mountains, the country aims to highlight that attraction with a Mud Volcano Visitor Centre project. “It will be an experience centre where travellers can not only look at the volcanoes but also zipline over them or drive off-road around them,” Sengstschmid said, adding that new hiking trails are being built around the area to cater to different types of visitors.
A new e-learning platform dubbed Azerbaijan 101 has also been launched to engage overseas travel companies with live events, virtual fam trips and various learning courses, according to Sengstschmid.
Nepal, whose government is finalising the entry policy to welcome fully vaccinated travellers without quarantine and reinstate visa-on-arrival, is focusing on products which are different, available year-round, and suitable for all groups.
Dhananjay Regmi, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board, said: “Nepal is divided into three ecological zones. In the past, we focused on (the adventure zone of) the Himalayan mountains. Now, we are also (promoting hilly) Pahad in the middle areas and Terai (low lands).”
Pahad highlights include hill stations and mid-hill cultural trails, while Terai boasts wildlife, culture and entertainment centre. “We are also reviving the camping treks in the less dense Eastern and Western regions, like the Khaptad-Badimalika Region trek, by prioritising on the lost trails,” Regmi said.