Shabran, August 9, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the "Galaalti Hotel & SPA" health and recreation complex in Shabran.
The head of state was informed that the complex was situated under the cliff near the Ciraggala, one of the ancient historic and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan.
The new facility is built on the basis of Galaalti Resort. The complex includes a hotel which is capable of accommodating 354 guests, and villas and cottages.
The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the complex.
The hotel, which has 171 rooms, covers an area of 7.1 hectares. It also houses restaurants, bars, garages, SPA and Health Center.
President Ilham Aliyev met with staff of the complex.
After greeting the staff, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- I want to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. Today we celebrate the opening of the medical and recreation center "Galaalti." This is a wonderful and remarkable event which shows once again that our country is developing rapidly and comprehensively.
The water from "Galaalti" is famous and has unique properties. I am confident that the establishment of this wonderful center will benefit both citizens of Azerbaijan and foreign visitors. The "Galaalti" resort receives a new life and starts a new stage in its life. It is a modern stage and a wonderful period, and conditions here meet the highest standards.
The "Galaalti" resort was created in the 1970s. Of course, the conditions at the time were not like this, but despite this, there was a large influx of visitors from different parts of the Soviet Union. Thousands of people come here from different parts of the Soviet Union every year to receive treatment and rest.
Today, "Galaalti" will start functioning as an international medical and recreation center because the conditions here, as you too are well aware, meet the highest standards. A five-star hotel, a SPA-center, an entertainment area and, of course, the wonderful water bubbling out of the ground will have a positive impact on health.
At the same time, I can say that the opening of this center epitomizes our policies, as regional development, the development of the non-oil sector and the tourism sector are priority areas for us. Regional development began primarily with infrastructure projects, as it was necessary to pave the roads. Without the roads, no-one would invest money here and create such a center. The trunk road Baku-Guba-Russian border, the road paved from Siyazan, as well as other infrastructure projects are now being implemented in all regions. Our country is successfully implementing projects related to drinking water, power supply, rural roads, gasification and other infrastructural projects. The development of the regions, including those related to development of tourism, especially when you consider that we have a beautiful nature. We are the happiest people because we live in such a beautiful country. The Caspian Sea, the mountains, rivers, springs, lakes, forests – we have everything. Therefore, a few years ago, the development of tourism was identified as a priority direction, and there are currently tourist centers and world-class resorts in various parts of the country.
In Soviet times, we had two famous resorts – one was Galaalti and the other Naftalan. The Naftalan resort is also at the highest level today. There are already three five-star hotels there. I personally took part in the opening of each of these hotels. A fourth hotel is under construction now. Thus, Naftalan receives tens of thousands of people annually, I am glad that the number of visitors from foreign countries has been on the increase with each passing day in recent years. I am sure that "Galaalti" will also reach this level, because there are excellent opportunities for treatment and recreation here.
Thus, we have not only restored but also revitalized these two historic resort centers at the highest international level. We also have other resort areas. For example, a wonderful hotel was built in Nakhchivan, next to the "Duzdag" cave, a few years ago. A lot of work has been done in these caves. They are mostly needed in diseases of the lungs. The "Galaalti" center provides treatment of the kidney and gall bladder diseases, Naftalan provides treatment of rheumatism and the joints. Such a variety makes Azerbaijan a tourist center of world level. Add to that the great Caspian Sea and the hotels along the coast. The European Games, of course, has had a very positive impact on the development of tourism. We see that. Thousands of people came and fell in love with Baku. The beauty and comfort of Baku, the conditions available and the hospitality of our people, of course, attract tourists.
Any country, especially a country such as Azerbaijan with a great location and natural resources, must develop tourism. After all, it is a permanent source of income. Natural resources, oil, gas – these resources will be depleted, while the areas bringing a steady income for the sustainable development of our country should be developed. A special place among them belongs to tourism. If we look at the income of some countries, we can see that tourism fetches most of the revenues. What is required for the development of tourism? First of all, people should know about you. We promote our country, conduct presentations, activities related to our culture and development on a global scale, in foreign countries. At the same time, Azerbaijan hosts prestigious international competitions, cultural events, festivals and competitions. We have held European Games, next year we will host "Formula 1" and two years later the Islamic Solidarity Games. All this attracts visitors, and they return home to share their impressions. For instance, I met with the president of the International Shooting Sport Federation yesterday. The World Cup started in Gabala yesterday, and he told me that familiarization with Azerbaijan during the European Games made a great impression on him, and now he is here with his family. These are our opportunities. We promote our country and host international events in order for people to know us. This is the first condition. The second condition for the development of tourism is the availability of infrastructure. Our Heydar Aliyev International Airport is in one of the first places in the world. Roads, infrastructure, services and, of course, the hospitality of our people, which is always there. Perhaps it is our greatest wealth. Therefore, considering all these factors, we see that Azerbaijan has great opportunities for the development of tourism. We need to make the most of these opportunities.
Wonderful five-star centers are built in the regions, leading hotel brands of the world are functioning in Baku. This year alone, we have opened two hotels - "Intourist" where we have restored historical justice. The old "Intourist" hotel was unfortunately knocked down. We have now restored "Intourist". "Boulevard" is the biggest hotel not only in Azerbaijan but also throughout the region. It was commissioned this year.
Therefore, Baku is already among the most notable cities in this respect on a global scale. I want such opportunities to be available in all our cities. Look how many wonderful hotels have been created in recent times. We have created a ski center "Shahdag". There are already three five-star and two four-star hotels there. In winter months, on weekends, perhaps up to 5,000 people rest there. "Shahdag" is one and a half hours’ drive from here.
A second ski resort has been set up in Gabala. There are also some wonderful hotels. Two years ago, a beautiful hotel “Rixos” was built in Guba. Hotels have been built in Shamakhi, Naftalan, Galaalti and in the southern region. This is our policy and development, and we are doing all this while the world is experiencing a financial and economic crisis. Today, it is difficult to find a country that would not be affected by crisis. Some countries are affected more and others less, while Azerbaijan develops in the crisis years and creates such beautiful projects.
We are implementing infrastructure projects. Oil prices dropped more than in half compared to last year. Of course, this has a negative impact on our revenues, as we earn less, but at the same time, the potential we have created by diversifying the economy allows the citizens of Azerbaijan not to feel the implications of that. There will be sustainable development in this direction. We need to set aside oil and gas and forget about them. The day will come when the price of oil will be of no importance to us, because Azerbaijan develops and must develop such spheres as industry, agriculture, tourism, information and communication technologies even more rapidly.
Therefore, the opening of the medical and recreation center "Galaalti" is not just the opening of a hotel, it is a reflection of our policy and a manifestation of our intentions. I am sure that local and foreign investors, encouraged with such opportunities, will create new hotels and recreation areas in Azerbaijan both for our citizens and visitors.
I am sure that you, people working here, will properly perform your duties and serve guests well. I am sure that people visiting here once will wish to come back.
I congratulate you again and wish you success.
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The President reviewed the conditions created here.
High-quality construction work was carried out in the complex. Green areas were laid out here.
President Ilham Aliyev gave relevant recommendations and instructions.