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Decision on extending visa-free travel area onto Grodno railway terminal soon

Society 19.05.2017 | 19:36

GRODNO, 19 May (BelTA) – The decision on whether the railway terminal in Grodno should be part of the visa-free travel area or not will be made soon, BelTA learned from Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Anatoly Kalinin. On 19 May the deputy prime minister was made familiar with the operation of the Belarusian-Polish border checkpoint Lesnaya-Rudawka and the development of infrastructure in the Augustow Canal area.

Improving transport availability in the visa-free travel area by including the railway border checkpoint Grodno – Kuznica Bialostocka into the visa-free travel area is crucial to increasing tourist traffic in the tourism and recreation park Augustow Canal (including Grodno). The railway border checkpoint was not covered by the presidential decree, which introduced the visa-free travel regulations, because communication with Poland by rail was not available when the decree was put together. However, communication by rail was resumed later on. Now many tourists arrive on board the Grodno-Krakow train.

Anatoly Kalinin said: “As the person in charge of overseeing transport industry I see no problem with submitting the approved decision for consideration of the head of state. The matter needs to be decided soon. Next week we are going to hold a government conference involving representatives of all necessary ministries and other agencies in order to address the issues that impede the flow of tourists into the Augustow Canal Park as fast as possible.”

The other matters include opening the Belarusian-Polish border checkpoint Sofiyevo-Lipszczany and the Belarusian-Lithuanian border checkpoint Kadysh-Kapciamiestis, building infrastructure in the river border checkpoint Privalka-Svendubre. It is also necessary to amend the relevant intergovernmental agreements to let vessels cross the border via the border checkpoints Lesnaya-Rudawka and Privalka-Svendubre.

“We've seen the advantages granted by presidential decree No.318 on visa-free travels. Our citizens and the global community have welcomed the decree as a very positive step for expanding cooperation. The action has resulted in more tourists coming to Belarus. This is why, in my opinion, this document should be expanded,” noted the deputy prime minister.

Belarus president decree No.318 came into force on 26 October 2016 to allow foreign tourists to visit the tourism and recreation park Augustow Canal without visas. The regulations allow foreign tourists to stay in the park and the nearby populated localities in Grodno District and the city of Grodno without visas for five days. Since the decree came into force, about 14,000 people from more than 50 countries have used the opportunity.

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