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30 Apr 2014

Augustow Canal to become tourist Mecca for Grodno, Augustow, Druskininkai

The Augustow CanalGRODNO,30 April (BelTA) – The Augustow Canal should become a tourist Mecca for the residents of Grodno, Augustow and Druskininkai, Head of the Administration of FEZ Grodnoinvest Sergei Tkachenko told media as he met with a delegation of the Podlaskie District at the Kurzyniec sluice on 30 April, BelTA learned.

The Polish delegation made the first visit to Grodno along the Augustow Canal on motor yachts. The visit was factual evidence to the possibility for motor vessels to travel through this water body. “Our main goal is to connect three states by water as it once was in the history. Today we have a possibility to use the Augustow Canal to the full. Two similar yacht tours from Grodno to Druskininkai were successful. In the late 2013 the Polish side completed the reconstruction of their last sluice, which provided an opportunity to connect Augustow and Grodno. Thus, the tourist route Augustow-Grodno-Druskininkai can operate today,” Sergei Tkachenko said.

Water sports competition in the Augustow CanalIn his words, a huge preparatory work has been done in order to open the cross-border water communication along the canal. The parties have developed a regulation for vessel movement, regulated the international and national legislation, coordinated the issues related to crossing the borders, sluicing, the navigation situation and other issues. “We would like to use the example of the Polish delegation’s trip along the route to analyze all moot points, determine further cooperation steps. Besides, today we instruct the intergovernmental commissions (Belarusian-Polish and Belarusian-Lithuanian) to use actively the tourist potential of the Augustow Canal and the Neman River. We would also like to develop bicycle tourism at the Augustow Canal. As soon as the checkpoint Lesnaya-Rudawka changes its status into a water-pedestrian-cycle one (this issue will be discussed at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission this year) we will be ready to use the funds of FEZ Grodnoinvest to extend the cycle-foot path which was launched last year (at present it is 6.5km long),” he said.

Water tourism in the Augustow CanalAccording to Sergei Tkachenko, after FEZ Grodnoinvest embarked on the development of the canal infrastructure, private business started showing high interest in it. This year an estimated Br5 billion will be allocated to the construction of infrastructure facilities. Decisions have been made on the land under construction (over 500 hectares). The designing of a number of tourism and recreation facilities have been completed in Sonichi, Peschany, Rynkovtsy. Their construction will start this year. A hotel is under construction in Radzivilki.

Excursions in the Augustow CanalAs for the development of the water tourism on the Augustow Canal, Sergei Tkachenko noted: “The market of services and goods should be clear and predictable for any business. Today new opportunities open for forecasting the economic advantages of the use of the canal. Water communication on the Augustow Canal and the Neman River can be easily made regular and accessible.”

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