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23 Sep 2016

Poland, Lithuania expect visa-free regime to boost tourist numbers in Augustow Canal

GRODNO, 23 September (BelTA) – Polish and Lithuanian partners of Grodno Oblast in the cross-border Euroregion Neman union forecast an increase in the tourist numbers once the visa-free regime is introduced in the Augustow Canal, representatives of the diplomatic corps and business circles of the two countries said at international investment forum titled as Grodno Oblast at the Crossing of Borders in Grodno on 23 September, BelTA has learned.

“The opportunity to cross the border visa free is a big step forward in cooperation within the Euroregion Neman. This simplifies the work on the development of tourism and the implementation of cross-border programs,” said Director of the Nemas Euroregion Marijampole Bureau (Lithuania) Gintaras Skamarocius. According to Polish Consul General in Grodno Jaroslaw Ksiazek, Poland has welcomed Belarus’ decision. “I think the move will lead to an increase in the number of travelers this spring. This, in turn, will contribute to the development of the entire tourism industry on both the sides of the border,” he stressed.

The importance of the Belarus President’s decree on the introducing a visa-free travel to the country and temporary stay within the tourist and recreation park Augustow Canal and its adjacent areas was emphasized by the guests from Poland’s Podlaskie Province and Belarus’ Consul General in Bialystok Alla Fyodorova. “The visa-free regime opens new opportunities for interregional cooperation. We expect the tourism sector will be steadily developing both in Grodno Oblast and Podlaskie Province,” she said.

Cooperation in tourism is discussed today at one of the sections of the investment forum. The tourism potential of Grodno Oblast and its border areas has been presented at the 18th Euroregion Neman 2016 expo.

This Euroregion Neman exhibition and the forum are the most popular project (with Belarus’ participation) in the same-name cross-border union. The union was set up in 1997. Then, the Euroregion Neman comprised Belarus’ Grodno Oblast, Poland’s Suwalki Region, and Lithuania’s Alytus and Marijampole Regions. Later, the union was joined by other regions of Poland, Lithuania and Russia. The major goal of the exhibition and the forum is to expand trade and economic ties between the neighboring states and the search of variants for the most successful and mutually beneficial cooperation.

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