MINSK, 2 April (BelTA) – The Sports and Tourism Ministry hopes that the decision on extending the visa-free travel period for visitors, who enter Belarus via the Minsk National Airport, will be made by the end of the year, BelTA learned from Belarusian Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi on 2 April.
According to the source, the ten-day visa-free travel option is already available for two tourist destinations. Work is in progress to expand the visa-free travel period for the Minsk National Airport. “The Sports and Tourism Ministry does not make such decisions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does. We hope that a positive decision will be made by the end of the year. Visa-free travels do not affect security but have a positive effect on the economy and the political image of the country,” said Mikhail Portnoi.
The official also underscored the advisability of extending the visa-free travel period because Belarus has a great potential for sport tourism and medical tourism. “A good sport infrastructure has been created but five days is too little for an athlete to train well. Then there are modernized sanatoriums and resorts in Belarus. This kind of tourism is in demand. Five days is not enough for proper rest and recreation either,” added the deputy sports and tourism minister.
So far nearly 97,000 citizens of 68 countries have used the visa-free travel option available to those, who enter Belarus via the Minsk National Airport. In February-March 2018 the number of such passengers increased by 34% to 10,500 people. Most of the tourists came from Germany, Poland, Italy, the UK, the USA, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Latvia, and Lithuania.More about Society