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18 April 2024, 13:05

Ambassador: Russia-Belarus cooperation in tourism is booming 

 MINSK, 18 April (BelTA) - Over the past two or three years, tourist flows between Russia and Belarus have been growing by 50% annually, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov said at an opening ceremony  for the international fair of tourism services Leisure 2024 in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

According to the diplomat, at the fair Russia will be represented by 27 regions, and this is three times more than last year. The forum will host the second Russian-Belarusian Tourism Congress which will discuss tour operator activities in the two countries, share their experience of interregional cooperation, and make presentations. 

"The potential of cooperation between Russia and Belarus in tourism is huge. There are no language and border barriers. Transport infrastructure is convenient and generally tourist services are affordable for the general public," Ambassador Boris Gryzlov noted. “This is especially relevant in the context of growing prices for travel to non-CIS countries and more complicated and expensive travel logistics in the light of the illegitimate Western sanctions. But there is a silver lining.  Domestic tourism inside the Union State stimulates economic growth as income from the sale of tourist products does not go abroad but is reinvested in the further development of our countries. It also gives our citizens an opportunity to visit places that previously seemed almost inaccessible, to soak in the culture and traditions of our peoples."

The ambassador cited data that tourist flows between Belarus and Russia have been growing by 50% annually over the past two or three years. In 2023, 176,000 Russian citizens visited Belarusian medical-focused health resorts and 15,000 holidayed in agritourism facilities, which accounted for about 93% of international arrivals who came to Belarus for such recreational purposes. In turn, Belarusian tourists undertook 247,000 organized trips to Russia. "These figures do not take into account those citizens who holidayed in Russia on their own and who took care of the transfer, hotel reservations, and so on. This is more than 5 million Russians and over 400,000 Belarusians," Ambassador Boris Gryzlov said. 

He also lauded the work of the ministries and departments of Russia and Belarus to promote tourism. For example, the Union State program to approximate the laws in tourism was successfully implemented in 2023. A cooperation agreement and a roadmap were concluded.

On the agenda of the two countries is the expansion of the geography of regular flights between major cities of Russia and Belarus, the development of direct bus and rail interregional communication. Some 36 constituent entities of the Russian Federation have expressed interest in establishing the air service with Belarus or increasing the flight frequency, 13 seek to expand bus and rail routes. Recently, new flights to Moscow have been launched from Gomel and Brest. A possibility of organizing flights from other regional centers of Belarus, to the capital of the Russian Federation and other destinations is in the works.
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