GRODNO, 21 August (BelTA) - Tourists from the Netherlands became the 50,000th visa-free visitors of Grodno District, BelTA informs.
On 20 August a Dutch family with a 15-year-old son crossed the Belarusian-Polish border in the Lesnaya-Rudawka checkpoint in the Augustow Canal.
They arrived in Belarus on a yacht rented in Poland. In Augustow they learned that it was possible to visit Belarus visa free. The tourists from the Netherlands said that it did not take them long to register all the necessary documents, and they crossed the border very fast. “This is really great. Such opportunities enable foreigners to learn more about the country. Impressions are positive: friendly people, beautiful untouched nature. During a short trip along the Belarusian part of the Augustow Canal we have seen a number of wild animals we did not met before,” said the Dutch family. The travelers from the Netherlands will stay in Belarus for two days. They are going to see the Augustow Canal and the sights of Grodno. The foreigners are most interested in old Orthodox and Catholic churches.
On the Dombrovka Sluice the tourists were greeted by Head of the Sport and Tourism Department of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Oleg Andreichik. The guests were given presents.
“Visa-free tourism has been steadily developing. In 2016-2017 we welcomed 51,000 visa-free tourists in the region. Today we have welcomed our 50,000th visitor in August already,” Oleg Andreichik said. The geography of tourists also expands. Citizens of 51 countries have visited Grodno and its suburbs so far. Travelers from the Netherlands place eighth in the local ranking. Most Grodno visitors come from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany.
“The growth of arrivals promotes the development of the tourist infrastructure. 16 new catering facilities, three accommodation facilities have been opened in the region this year. More than 100 jobs have been created,” Oleg Andreichik said. Agro ecotourism is actively developing as well. Visa-free tourism earns Grodno Oblast more than $1 million on a monthly basis.
Grodno Oblast has been actively developing different areas of tourism: sightseeing tours, outdoor activities, sports and water tourism. The Augustow Canal is very popular. This year, the number of floating crafts, including kayaks, yachts and motor boats that crossed the border to travel along the canal has exceeded 400 units. According to Grodnomeliovodkhoz Company, in summer the sluice service on the Augustow Canal is popular with both foreigners and Belarusian tourists. Most often tourists travel along the canal independently. Specialists help those who go further along the Neman to Grodno or Lithuania's Druskininkai.
Grodno District was made a visa-free area on 1 January 2018.
Photo by Leonid ShcheglovMore about Society