GRODNO, 11 December (BelTA) – The interest of Lithuanian tourists in Grodno Oblast is on the rise. Tourism allows advancing cooperation in other spheres, too, BelTA learned from Grodno Oblast Vice Governor Viktor Liskovich at a meeting of representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate General of Lithuania on 11 December.
Participants of the meeting discussed cooperation in social affairs, the development of education and healthcare systems, and broader use of the tourism potential of the neighboring countries.
Viktor Liskovich said: “Over 54,000 Lithuanians have been to Grodno without visas this year alone. People of an older age are interested in nostalgia tourism. Young people are keen on learning more about Belarusian traditions and history. In turn, we continue developing hospitality business. We hope that the flow of tourists will continue growing since tourism can become an engine to drive cooperation in economy.” During the meeting the sides discussed several important matters in this sphere.
In particular, the development of cycling routes in areas near the border looks interesting as well as joint efforts to advertise tours across Belarus and Lithuania on major international markets. The resumption of railway service between Grodno and Vilnius was mentioned as an idea. Cooperation in sport is vigorous, too.
Marijus Gudynas, Director of the Department of Lithuanians Living Abroad in the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during the meeting: “Everything, which connects people, is important for us. One of the goals of the visit is to learn how Lithuanians in Belarus live, what opportunities for cooperation with them are available. On the whole, we view Lithuanians living abroad as bridges, which help establish relations between Lithuania and other countries, help advance cooperation across the board – starting with education and culture and ending with economy.”
Grodno Oblast is now home to about 2,000 Lithuanians and six public associations. There are two schools where Lithuanian is spoken as a language of instruction – in Voronovo District and Ostrovets District. About 40 kids in Lida study Lithuanian as an optional course. All emerging cooperation issues are handled by the Belarusian-Lithuanian education commission.
Lithuanians take an active part in major cultural forums in Grodno Oblast such as the Augustow Canal in the Culture of Three Nations and the arts and crafts fair Kazyuki. The Lithuanian mission is a popular place during the Festival of National Cultures in Grodno.More about Society