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28 Mar 2017

Belarus continues work to launch visa-free travel in three cross-border ecotourism areas

MINSK, 28 March (BelTA) – The Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry continues its work to launch visa-free travel in three cross-border specially protected natural areas, Nikolai Svidinsky, the head of the biological and landscape diversity department at the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, told reporters on 28 March, BelTA has learned.

Nikolai Svidinsky commented on the plans to launch visa-free travel in three areas of special protection along the western border of Belarus that the ministry started considering in summer 2016. He noted that Belarus is currently in talks with the respective neighboring countries. Negotiations are underway about the areas Kotra – Cepkeliai, Richi – Silene, and Braslav Lakes – Augsdaugava. “The talks are in progress. We have sent plans for joint activities in these areas to our neighboring countries,” he noted.

Nikolai Svidinsky emphasized that cross-border cooperation is about the possibility of crossing the border trouble-free. “If our natural reserves share a border, there is a need for visa-free travel for tourists. I am confident that those who visit, for instance, Lithuania’s Cepkeliai would also want to see its continuation on the territory of Belarus,” he said.

Nikolai Svidinsky noted that tourists visiting Belovezhskaya Pushcha already enjoy the visa-free travel option. Those who visit the Polish part of the famous forest can stay in its Belarusian part without a visa for up to three days. Besides, it is also possible to enter Belarus visa-free via Minsk National Airport. “I would like to note that the number of tourists who come to see our nature went up by 30% in 2016 as against 2015,” the expert pointed out.

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