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Visa-free travel program brings crowds of tourists to Minsk

Society 07.02.2019 | 19:57
Minsk. An archive photo
Minsk. An archive photo

MINSK, 7 February (BelTA) – Since February 2017 about 197,000 tourists have been to Minsk via the Minsk National Airport thanks to the visa-free travel program, BelTA learned from Yelena Plis, Director of the information and tourism center Minsk, during a session of the board of the Central Office for Sport and Tourism of the Minsk City Executive Committee on 7 February.

In January-November 2018 Minsk exported over $112 million worth of tourism services, 13.4% up from the same period of 2017. According to provisional statistics, last year's export will reach $121.9 million, 113.2% as against 2017 and 105.9% as against the year 2018 target.

According to the source, Minsk accounts for 54.3% of the country's export of tourism services. The increase in the number of foreign tourists is attributed, among other things, to the introduction of the five-day visa-free travel regime followed by the 30-day visa-free travel option for citizens of 80 countries. By 1 February as many as 197,000 foreign tourists from 69 countries had used the program. Most of them came from Germany (31,900), Poland (17,900), Italy (17,500), UK (13,600), and USA (13,300). Passenger traffic at the Minsk National Airport grew by over 22%, Yelena Plis said.

Belarus launched a five-day visa-free travel program in 2017. The option was available to citizens of 80 countries, who entered the country via the Minsk National Airport. In 2018 the time frame was extended up to 30 days.

A Minsk Card project has been launched to offer benefits similar to those of the Berlin Pass and London Pass projects. The cards are valid for varying periods of time ranging from 24 hours to 12 months. The cards offer free tours of 11 museums and the zoo, discounts of up to 50% for visits to more than 30 places of interest such as museums, sightseeing tours, an aqua park, discounts of up to 20% for services of hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, and car rentals. The cards are available in VIP, Premium, Business, Luxe, and Economy varieties.

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