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Belarus, Poland to continue joint promotion of Augustow Canal

Society 20.07.2017 | 20:01
Viktor Liskovich and Bogdan Dyjuk
Viktor Liskovich and Bogdan Dyjuk

GRODNO, 20 July (BelTA) – Belarus and Poland will continue the joint promotion of the Augustow Canal using a single brand. The agreement was reached by the Belarusian-Polish working group on the development of the Augustow Canal on 20 July, BelTA has learned.

The first session of the working group took place about half a year ago. The key goal of the joint efforts is to present the Augustow Canal as a single tourist attraction for tourists from Belarus and Poland as well as potential foreign visitors, including the promotion of the Augustow Canal using a single brand in the two countries and other countries.

Deputy Chairman of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Viktor Liskovich said: “We have done a lot, including with regard to the development of tourism infrastructure. New tourist attractions, farm tourism estates, places of recreation are regularly opened. Over 50km of new cycling routes around the canal has been built. New tourist routes are being marked. Mass cultural events, sport events, and entertainment events are regularly held.” The traffic the canal attracts has increased by seven times since 2011. Over 25,000 foreign tourists from 55 countries have used the opportunity to visit the Augustow Canal Park without visas since October 2016. Polish citizens represented 25% of them.

Viktor Liskovich noted that Grodno Oblast intends to suggest allowing foreign tourists to stay without visas in the Augustow Canal Park up to ten days in addition to more ways to visit the park. First of all, the visa-free travel area should include the railway terminal and the airport in Grodno.

The Belarusian-Polish border checkpoint Lesnaya-Rudawka in the Augustow Canal Park is popular with tourists. Hikers and bikers can use it to cross the border since late April. Viktor Liskovich noted that Belarus and Poland will continue working to improve the border infrastructure and set up new border checkpoints. In particular, there are plans to open the automobile border checkpoint Sofiyevo-Lipchany. The checkpoint will be able to halve the distance from Grodno to Augustow. Work is in progress to set up an international cycling route with the working title of Augustow Velo.

Podlaskie Voivodeship Vice Marshal Bogdan Dyjuk noted that the joint development of the Augustow Canal and the infrastructure on its banks will attract not only tourists, but also private investors. It will positively affect the economies of Grodno Oblast and Podlaskie Voivodeship. “We should present the Augustow Canal as a single tourist attraction,” he noted. The official said that work is in progress to inscribe the canal onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Augustow Canal will be represented as part of the unique waterway from the Vistula River to the Baltic Sea via the Neman River. The unusual tourist route is destined to bring tourists from Western Europe here.

A session of the Belarusian-Polish working group on developing the Augustow Canal is scheduled to take place in Grodno Oblast on 20-21 July. The most topical aspects of cooperation between Grodno Oblast and Podlaskie Voivodeship are supposed to be discussed, including the formation and promotion of the joint tourism product, the operation and development of the Augustow Canal.

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