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Visa-free entry to promote business tourism in Minsk

Society 05.04.2017 | 20:07
Alexander Shamko
Alexander Shamko

MINSK, 5 April (BelTA) – The introduction of visa-free entry will promote business tourism in Minsk, Belarus' Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko said during the opening ceremony of the international tourism expo Leisure 2017, BelTA has learned.

“Some 8,000 people have already taken advantage of the opportunity to visit Belarus visa-free. These figures show that Minsk has every reason to become a promising platform for the promotion of business tourism in Belarus,” the minister said and underlined that Belarus boasts a well-developed transport sector, infrastructure and security. “The number of luxury hotels, sports complexes, business centers and other administrative buildings has increased over the recent years. This lays the basis for the promotion of business tourism. I believe that Minsk will become a promising platform for business negotiations which will strengthen the country's economy,” Alexander Shamko noted.

The minister also reminded that this was the 20th time the expo had been organized. “Tourism in Belarus is growing in terms of quality and quantity from year to year. In the recent years the government has been taking unprecedented measures to develop this sector in the organizational dimension,” the minister highlighted. Among the examples of such steps he mentioned the launch of five-day visa-free entry via Minsk National Airport and visa-free travels to the Augustow Canal and the national park Belovezhskaya Pushcha. “Apart from this, in 2017 Belarus will host over 80 big international sports events. The country will also facilitate visa regulations in order to hold the events. All these things make our country more attractive to tourists,” Alexander Shamko remarked.

According to him, these measures have already brought positive results. “The export has been growing and the country has been attracting private investments in tourism,” Alexander Shamko added.

The minister also noted that Belarusian hotels and health resorts report an increased number of customers. “In 2017 Belarus will host four times as many sports events as in 2016 and there still are many other events to come. Thus the hotels will receive more guests. The launch of visa-free entry to Brest and to the Augustow Canal in Grodno attracted more guests to regional hotels. Today more than half of the rooms are booked. This is a great figure,” Alexander Shamko remarked.

The international tourism expo Leisure 2017 opened in Minsk on 5 April. Partaking in the event are delegations from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Albania, Italy, and Egypt. All in all, the expo gathered over 150 participants.

The expo is dedicated to travels (seasonal travels, business tours, children's tours, round trips, educational tours), excursion programs, transport services, sports equipment, travel insurance, health resorts, pensions, tourist clubs, hotel services, leisure and sporting goods, maps, booklets, and guides. The program of the expo features presentations, roundtables, workshops on the most topical issues of tourism. The expo will last through 8 April.

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