Booking.com restarts illegal hotel reservations in occupied Azerbaijani territories
Booking.com, the Netherlands-based travel fare aggregator website, has resumed illegal activities by starting hotel reservations in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told APA on Nov. 17.
He recalled that Booking.com earlier stopped making illegal hotel reservations in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia after a serious protest from Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Hajiyev stressed that promotion of Azerbaijan’s occupied lands as a tourism destination by Booking.com and making hotel reservations there absolutely contradicts the principles of international law, the Charter of the World Tourism Organization, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, as well as relevant decisions and recommendations of the World Tourism Organization’s Executive Board.
“Promotion of the occupied territories - where more than a million Azerbaijanis were subject to bloody ethnic cleansing - as a tourism destination and making hotel reservations there is inconsistent with any moral framework as well,” he added.
The spokesman said that though the occupied Azerbaijani territories are closed for legitimate international money transfers, hotels are booked in Azerbaijan’s occupied lands via online payments on Booking.com, which takes profit from this, and this is considered illegal money transfers and money laundering.
He noted that such activity of Booking.com runs contrary to business ethics and is a factor that negatively affects its reputation.
Hajiyev said that the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are taking coordinated measures in this regard. “The Azerbaijani Embassy in the Netherlands has also been given appropriate instructions,” he added.
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