Lahij’s languages of opportunity
Content submitted by – Lili
Submited Date : 28/06/2018
A tourist exploring the surroundings of Lahij, Azerbaijan

My name is Dadash Aliyev. I am married. Have two children. Currently, I mostly teach in Lahij. I’m teaching the Azerbaijani and Russian languages. But, I consider the tourism both as an additional source of income, and amazing pastime. I occasionally guide excursions in the Azerbaijani, Russian and English languages and host guests at my home. Lahij is one the most beautiful parts of Azerbaijan with its high promising tourism capacity. I haven’t always been interested in tourism. Thirteen years ago, a tourism workshop in Georgia supported by the World Bank changed my life. After I came to my country, I started to have conversations among people about issues related to the tourism and its benefits. Soon, we established a public union in order to revive the tourism sector together with the local authorities. The Public Union got registered after 2 years of the decision. Representatives of the ministry and famous guidebook authors began to show interest in our work as they learnt about our tourism development plan in Lahij. I fall in love with the tourism and participated at a number of really informative workshops organized in Georgia. The creation of the Tourism Information Centre in Lahij was one of the most challenging periods of my career. It was very difficult to convince local people about the importance of Information Centre. The first prepared project was approved by the World Bank, but we couldn’t find a place for the Tourism Information Centre. There were many people, including my relatives who created obstacles for us. In spite of all those challenges, the Centre was opened in 2006. In a very short period, majority of tourism companies and guests in Lahij learnt about our information centre. The operation of the Centre was very remarkable, capturing the attention of the “Lonely planet” guidebook that praised our Centre as the most effective Tourism Centre of Azerbaijan. We created a database on Lahij here, entering information on a host of tourism related services. The Centre has its own webpage and advertisement board in place. We placed signs with its location all over Lahij. We offered high quality and affordable services to guests addressing to our Centre. In accordance to the pre-arrangement of service providers, we received small interest fees on guests referred to them by the Centre. That income was sufficient to sustain the Centre. Tourism utterly changed my life. Lahij, one of the most beautiful places in Azerbaijan, is experiencing its real tourism life. Our initial focus was the mobilization of people in the tourism and explaining its benefits. Now we try to further improve the level of services provided and attract much more tourists in the region. It’s impossible not to be excited with the development of the tourism in Lahij. We approach poorer families and help them reestablish their homes as potential tourist accommodation, giving them the opportunity to make tourism their main source of income. Searching for accommodation for guests visiting Lahij, providing guiding, horse riding, transportation, picnic and other such kind of services led to acquaintance with many new people, while considerably adding to my income. The tourism helped me to make many friends in Azerbaijan and from different parts of the world. I tried to contribute to earnings of poor and underprivileged families, bearing in mind that every person should do his/her best to further promote Lahij and satisfy each guest.