GRODNO, 26 October (BelTA) – Members of the Polish delegation led by Podlaskie Voivodeship Marshal Jerzy Leszczynski were the first tourists to enter the Augustow Canal Park without visas on 26 October, BelTA has learned.
The delegation crossed the Belarusian-Polish border in the border checkpoint Lesnaya-Rudawka. Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov welcomed the Polish delegation.
Vladimir Kravtsov said: “It is a significant event not only for our region but for the entire country as well as our neighbors. We enjoy good contacts with Podlaskie Voivodeship. I am sure that the ability for our neighbors to visit Grodno and the district without visas will give an impulse to stronger cultural, tourism, and economic contacts.” The Grodno Oblast Governor underlined that citizens of other countries show their interest in visa-free travels as they contact travel agencies and access the dedicated website.
According to Jerzy Leszczynski, the initial impressions from the new border crossing regulations are positive. In his words, a lot is being done today to make the Augustow Canal an integral object that is accessible along its entirety. The decision to lift visa requirements is an important step on the way to making it happen.
The Polish delegation is expected to get familiar with the potential of the Belarusian part of the Augustow Canal. Members of the delegation are expected to visit another border checkpoint on the Belarusian-Polish border and hold negotiations at premises of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee. A tourism information center of Podlaskie Voivodeship will be opened in Grodno. A tourism information center dedicated to Grodno will be opened in Bialystok.
BelTA reported earlier that foreign tourists can visit the tourism and recreation park Augustow Canal without visas as from 26 October. Grodno and part of Grodno District now belong to the so-called visa-free zone. To visit the park, foreign citizens will need their passport (or another document for travels abroad) and the document confirming their right to visit the Augustow Canal. Such documents are issued by travel agencies. Applications can be submitted online at grodnovisafree.by.
Tourists are required to have money to finance the costs associated with staying in Belarus and leaving the country. In particular, tourists will need at least two base amounts per day in Belarusian rubles or a foreign currency. One base amount stands at Br21 at present. Visa-free travels will be available till 31 December 2017.