MINSK, 29 July (BelTA) – Director of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve Andrei Prokoshin told reporters how the coronavirus pandemic affected tourism in the reserve as he met with journalists at the BelTA press center on 29 July.
“The first half of the year, when the borders were closed and the pandemic was spreading, is not an indicator of general development trends. Tourists were few and far between during this time. It was not until mid-June that the tourism bounced back. We rejected a wait-and-see approach. We developed special offers taking into consideration the ongoing developments. For example, we offered a program called Self-Isolation. In line with the program, tourists could book a 14-day stay in our hotel on an all inclusive basis 40% off the regular price. It worked, this option drew tourists, some of them came with families,” Andrei Prokoshin said.
In his words, vacationers heavily favored open-air leisure over museums. The most popular open-air activities were hiking, kayaking and cycling. Open-air tours remain just as popular during the second half of the year. According to the director, the tourism at the biosphere reserve is not on hold anymore; quite a number of people visit the reserve now.
In the recent decade, tourist numbers have remained pretty stable, with 42,000-45,000 tourists coming every year. However, the last year beat the record, as the biosphere reserve welcomed more than 57,000 visitors. According to Andrei Prokoshin, this might be due to a growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle and consequently eco-tourism. The reserve welcomes tourists from all over the world, including Russia, Poland, Germany, China, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Venezuela and the United States of America.