GRODNO, 4 January (BelTA) – Visa-free tourists from 15 countries visited Grodno and surroundings during the New Year holidays, BelTA learned from the Sport and Tourism Department of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee.
Last weekend, around 500 foreign nationals took advantage of the visa-free program and came to visit the Augustow Canal park which covers Grodno and the Grodno District territory.
“Most of them (about 60%) were Lithuanian citizens. Polish and German nationals were also among the leaders. All in all, Grodno welcomed citizens of 15 countries during the holidays, including those from Sweden, France, Spain, Czechia, and Italy,” the department said. Almost a hundred more foreign visitors registered for a travel to the region in the following days, the department added.
Over 50,000 visa-free tourists visited Grodno and surroundings in 2017. The local authorities expect the tourist inflow to keep growing as Decree No. 462 on the visa-free entry and departure of foreign nationals came into force on 1 January. The document extended the duration of visa-free stay to ten days, launched the visa-free program in more areas, and increased the number of border checkpoints in order to allow more foreign tourists to enter Belarus and stay here without visas. The visa-free area near Grodno was expanded onto entire Grodno District. From now on, foreign visitors will be able to come to Belarus via the checkpoints located at railway terminals and airports along with the ones designed for motor vehicles. “Tourist firms were informed about the changes in the legislation and other nuances. This is why they worked smoothly with foreign tourists and caused no discomfort for them,” the officials remarked.
The expansion of the visa-free area will give an additional boost to factory tours, ecological and medical tourism. For instance, the visa-free area now includes the Porechye resort, the landscape reserve Ozery, and the Porechye and Ozerny health resorts. With the duration of visa-free stay extended to 10 days, the tourists will get a wider range of health services. The work to promote such tours has already been started.More about Society