In 1994, Dr. Garayev became the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the position that he held until 2001, when he was appointed the Minister of Youth, Sport and Tourism. After the cabinet reshuffle in 2006, Dr. Garayev became the Minister of Culture and Tourism.
In 2018, after another cabinet change, a new Ministry of Culture was created and Dr. Garayev was appointed to head it.
Due to his long term senior position in the Government minister Garayev has acquired a broad managerial and policy making experience on national and international level in the field of culture, tourism, youth and sport. He was the Vice President of National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, Chair of the 6th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (2009-2011), Chair of National Organizing Committee of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 7th Global Forum held in 2016, he headed OIC Tourism Ministers Conference (2006-2008), TURKSOY Permanent Council of Culture Ministers in 2009, UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 and CIS Council on Cultural Cooperation.
Dr. Garayev currently is the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held every two years starting from 2011; he was also the President of the ISESCO General Conference for 2015-2018 years as well as Chair of the National Commission for ISESCO. In 2017 Dr. Garayev was the Chairperson of UNWTO Executive Council.
In June 2018 in Bahrain Dr. Garayev was elected the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for the years 2018-2019. Following this decision, Dr. Garayev was appointed the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 30 June to 10 July 2019.
Dr. Garayev has received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts of the Coventry University in the UK in recognition of his inspirational support to the Baku Process for intercultural dialogue. Dr. Garayev received his PhD in philosophy and culture in 1992 from the Public Sciences Academy in Moscow and he is senior lecturer of the Azerbaijan Tourism and Management University since 2006. He is fluent in Azerbaijani, Russian, English, Turkish.