(Persia Digest) – Tourists from the Republic of Azerbaijan have broken the record of travel to Iran. The number of trips by Azeri citizens visiting Iran in the first nine months of 2018 increased by 53.2 percent as compared to a similar period last year, to reach one million and 68 thousand trips. But the number of trips by Iranians to Azerbaijan has dropped by 32.7 percent during the same period.

Experts say the reason for the increase in the travel of Azerbaijani citizens to Iran is the devaluation of the Iranian national currency against other foreign currencies and the increase in the purchasing power of the Manat (the national currency of the Republic of Azerbaijan). The same reason has been cited for a drop in trips by Iranians and the devaluation of their national currency and the reduction of the purchasing power of the rial beyond the borders of Iran.

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In recent years, Iran has always been at the center of attention of Azerbaijani tourists and its nationals traveled to Iran mostly with the motivation of medical treatment, pilgrimage to religious places and land trips to the autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan.

But, this year, with an increase in the price of the dollar on the Iranian forex market, the citizens of Azerbaijan, especially those living in the border towns, have chosen Iran to do their shopping.

Another reason for this increase is the visa waiver for Azeri citizens coming to Iran, while the same does not apply to Iranian citizens wishing to travel to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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According to the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, its citizens have taken 14.1 percent more trips in the first nine months of 2018 (3,563,000 people). Of these 30.7 percent have traveled to Iran, 30.3 percent to Georgia, 19.4 percent to Russia, 13.2 percent to Turkey, 1.4 percent to Ukraine, 1 percent to the UAE, and 3.8 percent to other countries.

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