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24 Sep 2018

Belarus’ export of tourism services up 17.5% in January-July

Belarus’ export of tourism services up 17.5% in January-July

MINSK, 24 September (BelTA) - Belarus' export of tourism services made up $126.1 million in January-July 2018, up 17.5% from the same period a year ago, Belarus’ Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi told the media in BelTA’s press center on 24 September.

The ministry and travel agencies forecast that by the end of 2018 the market of tourism services will show growth against 2016 and 2017. The forecast takes into account efforts put in to liberalize visa procedures, expand borders of visa-free zones in Grodno Oblast and Brest Oblast, and intensify marketing events. Since the start of the year the Sport and Tourism Ministry has held together with public organizations and business more than 20 marketing events in Europe, the United States and Asia.

On 27 July 2018 the visa-free stay in Belarus was expanded from 5 to 30 days. Over the time the number of visa-free tourists has gone up 42%. The biggest number of visa-free visitors comes from Germany, Poland, the UK, the United States and Italy.

“We expect that the extended visa-free stay for foreigners will benefit spa resorts of our country. A health invigoration course requires 8-12 procedures, which is impossible to complete within the five-day visa-free stay,” Mikhail Portnoi said.

This year has been announced the Year of Belarusian Tourism in China. The mutual visa-free entry for citizens of Belarus and China was introduced on 10 August. Familiarization tours for the Chinese mass media are held to increase the number of visitors from China. Belarusian hospitality facilities are being adapted to the China Friendly services. The program includes training of guides with Chinese, the production of promotion and informational materials and the provision of navigation around Minsk and regions in the Chinese language.

According to the State Border Committee, in January-June 2018 Belarus was visited by 2,137,079 foreigners (1,983,944 in January-June 2017).

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