SKIDEL, 5 December (BelTA) – The export of tourist services in Grodno Oblast has doubled to reach $14 million over the past three years, Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov said at a press conference for regional and central mass media on 5 December, BelTA has learned.
In November 2019 the visa-free area in Grodno Oblast was expanded. If foreigners purchase package tours, they can travel all over the region.
“We are just at the very beginning of our way. We expect that the number of visa-free tourists will reach 110,000-120,000 by the year-end. The total number of tourists is projected at around 500,000. We have lots of opportunities and we should make the most of them. Tourism generates budget revenues and can increase the earning power of related businesses,” Vladimir Kravtsov said.
“Over the past three years revenues generated by our tourism sector rose considerably. The export of services increased from $7 million to $14 million. This is what we could calculate. However, it is hard to estimate tourists' contribution to retail trade and the services sector. This all is a great boost for the local economy,” Vladimir Kravtsov underlined.
In his words, the region should keep it up. It is necessary to improve the tourism infrastructure, including roads and information support. A lot has already been done on this front: there are special websites and mobile applications,” he said.
“It is also necessary to improve customer service. Business in Grodno responded promptly to the tourist boom; new hotels and cafes open all the time. The increase in tourist arrivals has encouraged investments in the hospitality business. We expect that the same will happen in the districts of the region,” Vladimir Kravtsov said. He emphasized that all stakeholders, from local authorities to businesses, need to join efforts to grow the region's tourism industry.
The region is also working to preserve its historical and cultural heritage. Architectural specimens are always a draw for tourists.
The Old Castle in Grodno is undergoing renovation now. In 2020 the first stage of the renovation project will be over. The Svyatsk palace and park complex near the Augustow Canal will open after a refurbishment project next year.