Health & Education

Health Trip

Azerbaijan is well known for a whole host of reasons, including Eurovision, the upcoming European Games, oil, as well as the rapid modernization and expansion of its capital city, Baku. […]

Azerbaijan is well known for a whole host of reasons, including Eurovision, the upcoming European Games, oil, as well as the rapid modernization and expansion of its capital city, Baku. There is undoubtedly a lot to see in Baku, and the comforts and attractions of the city make it tempting not to leave. However, there are bounteous opportunities to see beyond Baku. Not only does Azerbaijan possess a range of climate zones (nine out of the 11 possible), there are numerous opportunities to explore different aspects of Azerbaijan’s culture. Chinar Hotel, located in Naftalan, is a prime example of both. In an area that is geographically scenic, it also offers an opportunity to experience a unique element of Azerbaijan’s culture. Tourists in great number from across the former Soviet Union travelled to Naftalan to experience the healing power of Naftalan Oil, once known as “arterial blood of the Earth.“ Demand for medical tourism is still high from former Soviet countries, and there is considerable potential for new markets to be opened. Chinar Hotel is not just a hotel and resort, but also a facility that provides a wide range of alternative treatments.

Crude oil is found in great quantities in the city of Naftalan, but its properties are noticeably different with naphthalene, a hydrocarbon that is most famously found in mothballs. Making up 50% of the oil’s composition, it is said to be beneficial especially in the treatment of dermatological diseases, arthritis, joint pain, urogenital, and cardiovascular ailments. There are significant antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects of oil, and it has been recommended for peripheral vascular diseases. The oil can stimulate nerve endings, and, as a result, reduce pain relief and speed up the recovery from lesions. It has been used in various forms for treatment including oil baths, massages, and creams.

Naftalan treatment, or as it has been known, Naftalantherapy, has been available for some time at Chinar Hotel and Spa Resort, and is in high demand from many customers, especially from Russia and Kazakhstan. Approximately 70,000 visitors come to the resort every year, and this is set to increase significantly in the future. According to Chingiz Hajiyev, Head Doctor at Chinar Hotel, the level of guests from Russia and Kazakhstan increased by between 30-40% in 2014. Efforts are also being made in 2015 to encourage customers from a range of different countries, including Uzbekistan, Iran, and particularly Turkey.

One of the most exciting new developments for the prospects of Chinar Hotel is the opening of an airport in Naftalan in 2015. The numbers speak for themselves in terms of the demand for services at the hotel, but the fact that the nearest airports are so far away sometimes makes it difficult for many tourists to justify such a long trip. The opening of the new airport should allow for a significant increase in tourist activity as well as a steady increase in awareness for the possible treatment available.

The prospects for medical tourism are also expanding in terms of setting. A new hotel is being set up in the Shabran district, which is set to open in the summer of 2015. Named the Galati Hotel and Spa, the project is worthwhile for a number of reasons. Its location is significantly more convenient, as it is approximately only 100km from Baku. Direct flights are also available from the capital city, making this location significantly more attractive to potential tourists.

The drop in the price of oil has caused some concerns due to the proportion of visitors from Russia, according to Hajiyev; however, the continuing expansion of facilities, such as the new airport in Naftalan, the new “Galati Hotel and Spa,” as well as the opening up of new markets, suggest that demand for Naftalantherapy will increase. The beautiful location, high quality facilities, and, for some, the novelty of the treatment is undoubtedly appealing for some, and intriguing for many more.

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