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Belarus expects 20% increase in tourist arrivals after launch of visa-free travel

Society 10.01.2017 | 17:41

MINSK, 10 January (BelTA) – The Belarusian Sport and Tourism Ministry expects a 20% increase in tourist arrivals after the launch of visa-free travel to Belarus, Vitaly Gritsevich, Deputy Director of the Tourism Department of the Belarusian Sport and Tourism Ministry, told a press briefing at BelTA's press center on 10 January.

“The Belarusian Sport and Tourism Ministry expects that the number of tourist arrivals will go up by 20%. First of all, our attention is focused on the countries of Europe, North America, and the Persian Gulf. We keep in mind the trade and economic cooperation that we have developed with these countries,” Vitaly Gritsevich noted.

Some time ago, Belarus introduced visa-free travel for citizens of Israel, Turkey and several other countries. “Since the launch of visa-free travel, the number of Israeli nationals coming to Belarus has doubled, and the number of visits from Turkey has risen 1.5 times,” Vitaly Gritsevich said.

The Sport and Tourism Ministry believes that the number of tourists will increase mainly thanks to individual travelers. Therefore, the ministry plans to focus on the work to improve the quality of service and infrastructure not only in Minsk but also in regional and district centers.

Belarus introduced visa-free entry through the border checkpoint at the Minsk National Airport and visa-free stay in Belarus for up to 5 days for citizens of 80 states. The president's decree applies to citizens of 39 countries of Europe, including the entire European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, Japan, and other countries. The document aims to raise the number of business trips, tourism and private visits of people with regular passports and will not apply to foreigners on official trips with diplomatic, service, special and similar passports.

Foreigners coming to Belarus via Russian airports still need visasForeigners coming to Belarus via Russian airports still need visas
“It is important to remember that the five-day rule for visa-free travels does not apply to persons, who arrive in Belarus from airports of the Russian Federation or intend to fly to a Russian airport. Such flights are considered domestic and are not subject to border control,” said Igor Fisenko.
Russia notified of possible launch of visa-free entry to BelarusRussia notified of possible launch of visa-free entry to Belarus
Belarus has notified Russia of the possible launch of a visa-free regime for foreign travelers, Igor Fisenko, Head of the Central Consular Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a press briefing.
Belarus may extend list of countries for visa-free travelBelarus may extend list of countries for visa-free travel
The list of the countries whose citizens are eligible to visit Belarus visa-free for a period of up to five days may be extended, said Igor Fisenko, Head of the Central Consular Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
State Border Committee: No limit on number of visa-free entries to BelarusState Border Committee: No limit on number of visa-free entries to Belarus
Foreign citizens can use this opportunity to visit our beautiful country as many times as they want, provided they follow the established rules, Oleg Lyashuk said.
Interior Ministry: Plan for Russia-Belarus common migration space in the worksInterior Ministry: Plan for Russia-Belarus common migration space in the works
This plan will include a set of organizational and practical measures, including the measures to supervise how foreign travelers comply with the rule of stay on the territory of the Union State, Alexei Begun said.
Belarus Interior Ministry: 5-day visa-free entry will pose no migration challenge
The Interior Ministry will prepare the recommendations on the application of the president's decree for the territorial units, Alexei Begun added.
Belarusian border service ready for more visa-free tourists in Minsk airportBelarusian border service ready for more visa-free tourists in Minsk airport
According to the source, the border checkpoint in the Minsk National Airport is ready for any increase in the number of foreign citizens willing to enter Belarus due to the new visa regulations. “If necessary, we are ready to hire more personnel,” said the official.
MFA: Belarus currently unable to meet EU's expectations regarding readmission agreementMFA: Belarus currently unable to meet EU
When asked about the possibility of facilitating the process of negotiations with the EU on the simplification of visa procedures, Igor Fisenko remarked that the European Union closely associates this issue with the conclusion of the readmission agreement.

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