GRODNO, 15 January (BelTA) - Since the beginning of the year, Grodno and its surrounding areas have hosted visa-free tourists from 18 countries, BelTA learned from the sports and tourism department of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee.
Nearly 700 tourists from 18 countries have taken advantage of the visa-free travel program and visited Grodno and its surrounding areas. Most of them were citizens of Poland and Lithuania. During the holiday season the region also welcomed citizens of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and other European countries.
During the same period in 2017 the region received a little more than 200 foreigners. A large part of the visa-free tourists visited Grodno and its surrounding areas as part of organized groups. However, individual tourists also come to visit the region,” the sport and tourism department informed and noted that the number of people who have registered to visit the region is already approaching 1,000.
Decree No. 462 on the visa-free entry and departure of foreign nationals came into force on 1 January. The document extended the duration of visa-free stay to ten days, launched the visa-free program in more areas, and increased the number of border checkpoints in order to allow more foreign tourists to enter Belarus and stay here without visas. The visa-free area near Grodno was expanded to cover the entire Grodno District. From now on, foreign visitors will be able to come to Belarus via the checkpoints located at railway terminals and airports along with the ones designed for motor vehicles. “More than 20 visa-free tourists arrived in Grodno by train. We expect that this mode of transport will be popular with guests,” the department said.
With the expansion of the visa-free zone a fresh impetus will be given to factory, ecological and medical tourism. For example, the visa-free zone now includes the national health resort Porechie, the national landscape reserve Ozery, health resorts Porechie and Ozerny. With the length of visa-free stay increased to 10 days, tourists can get a fuller range of spa services. Local health resorts have already welcomed first visa-free tourists.