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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      EI and Azerbaijan Tourism Association Sign Agreement

      Orlando, Florida, August 2011-The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) and the Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AZTA) recently signed an international representation Memorandum of Understanding, whereby AZTA will promote and market EI's training and educational products with the private and public sector in an effort to raise the regional and global competitiveness of Azerbaijan.

      AZTA was established in 2009 by the help of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and has been an affiliate member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since July 2011. Its overall goal is to develop tourism sector in Azerbaijan and to create healthy, strong inbound and outbound tourism.

      The relationship with EI will assist the association with one of its main goals, which is to help its members to develop the quality of service offered to tourists by organizing seminars, workshops, and training for staff in several subjects (through joint programs with local partner, the Azerbaijan Tourism Institute). For the future, AZTA plans to increase the number and quality of training, applying EI's international experience to Azerbaijan's hospitality sector.

      "Our partnership agreement comes at an opportune time as Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev signed an order earlier this year declaring 2011 as the Year of Tourism in Azerbaijan," said Robert L. Steele III, CHA, EI's president and chief operating officer. "Azerbaijan is emphasizing the need for developing tourism and creating favorable conditions for visitors, and EI is honored to be the education and training provider of choice. We hope our contributions will assist Azerbaijan in meeting their tourism goals."

      About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
      Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

      Elizabeth Johnson - ejohnson@ahla.com

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