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Opinion: Belarusian cultural institutions need to learn ways to earn money

Society 06.02.2018 | 12:03
Yuri Bondar
Yuri Bondar

MINSK, 6 February (BelTA) – Belarusian cultural institutions need to learn how to earn money, Belarus' Culture Minister Yuri Bondar said at a board ministerial meeting on 6 February, BelTA has learned.

The budget revenues on the cultural sector in 2017 were Br425.2 million, or 0.41% of GDP (0.01% up from 2016). The average per capita expenditures on culture made up 1.7 base amounts, as against a fixed standard of 1.3 base amounts.

The funds received from non-budget activities of cultural organizations last year amounted to Br147.6 million (10.2% up from 2016). The growth in non-budgetary revenues was posted by all the regions, the minister said.

However, this is not a reason for complacency, Yuri Bondar believes. “The cultural sector has not yet learned to earn money, and its development largely depends on the state budget. Our organizations are mainly focused on the domestic market which is not big. The growth of revenue in the cultural sector lags far behind the growth of the tourism market. Even the launch of the visa-free travel program for citizens of 80 states did not encourage the cultural institutions to shift its focus, taking into account the expanded flow of foreign visitors,” noted the minister.

In his words, many cultural organizations have no simple and effective tools to attract more viewers and visitors. These tools are good websites available in several foreign languages. There is also no presence in social networks.

The share of non-budgetary funds to finance cultural organizations amounted to 20.9% last year (20.4% in 2016).

Over the past year, sponsor assistance increased by 4% to Br6.42 million. In 2016 it was a total of Br6.17 million. Some individual institutions work effectively with sponsors. These are the National Library of Belarus, the Bolshoi Theater, and the National Art Museum.

The minister noted that the export of services is expected to reach $4.6 million in 2017 (an increase of 5.5%). The highest figures were demonstrated by the educational institutions. The Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts approached nearly $2 million, which is 52% of the total exports of all educational institutions in the national cultural sector. Another 20% is generated by the Belarusian State Academy of Music. Other organizations need to conduct specific marketing research on potential export markets for services in order to carve out their market niches, Yuri Bondar said.

The minister stated that the main goals for the cultural sector for 2018 is to increase the share of non-budgetary (own) funds by at least 6% as against 2017, bolster the export of services, secure the growth of wages through the increase of revenues from non-budgetary activities, optimize the structure and personnel, intensify the work on attracting sponsorship.

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