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Belarus to count tourists in new ways

Society 03.04.2017 | 17:19

MINSK, 3 April (BelTA) - Belarus plans to implement a new method of tourism statistics, Belarus' Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko said in the BelTA press center on 3 April.

The minister reminded that Belarus and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are carrying out a number of joint projects. One of them is the implementation of the Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA). This statistical method is widely spread in Europe. “We need to keep record of incoming tourists. We have already tested the new method. I expect that we will implement it in three or four months and will see that the actual number of tourists is higher by 1.5 million,” Alexander Shamko said. He also remarked that these statistics will be kept according to the international standards.

According to him, the country should keep record of tourists in order to calculate the economic effect of tourism industry. This is why the implementation of the TSA in Belarus is in progress. The authorities keep an eye on incoming tourists and how much they spend. “I believe that anyone crossing the Belarusian border is a tourist. Many people visit their relatives or friends, attend exhibitions or conferences, cross the country in transit. These groups of people do not go on tours and cannot be categorized as organized tourists, but they still spend money in Belarus,” Alexander Shamko pointed out.

According to the minister, exact data is not available until the new method of statistics on incoming tourists and their expenditure is implemented. First of all, it applies to Russian citizens that travel to Belarus without border control. Their share in the total export of tourism services exceeds 60%.

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