International events held in Baku, such as the 1st European Olympic Games 2015, the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix 2016-2023, are raising the international profile of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination. The Government policy of hosting international business conferences and events, targeted on key sectors continues this trend. As a consequence, TripAdvisor announced Baku among the top 10 world destinations on the rise in 2016, taking the top spot for Asia. The Government of Azerbaijan has introduced some crucial improvements to the visa application process. As a result, tourists from most countries of the world can apply for a pre-entry visa through the special online ASAN e-visa system.
The World Economic Forum named Azerbaijan the most-improved country in terms of the business environment in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019. To serve the demand created by international sports, business, and political events, the tourism and hospitality infrastructure is developing quickly. A number of top-class international hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Marriott, Pullman, Hilton, Excelsior, Rixos, Fairmont, and others operate in Azerbaijan. In 2012, Shahdagh Winter-Summer Tourism Complex in Gusar was put into operation. The complex includes two hotels (“Shahdagh” and “Peak Palace”), trade centers, a restaurant, café, game hall, equestrian sports, skiing and other services. Continuously increasing the volume of international visitors stimulates direct investment into the development of the tourism industry and related services.