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8 Jul 2015

Belarus, Slovakia urged to improve transport connection

VITEBSK, 8 July (BelTA) – With a view to developing the cooperation in tourism Belarus and Slovakia need to improve transport links, to develop convenient and profitable routes, Director of the Slovak office for tourism in Russia and CIS countries Ljubica Alusicova said during the opening of the Belarusian-Slovak Business Forum which is running in Vitebsk on 8-10 July, BelTA has learned.

"Over the past year and a half the number of Belarusian tourists in Slovakia has increased, including thanks to the work of the Embassy in Minsk, its consular department which has become more flexible in issuing visas. Belarusians love vacationing at winter ski resorts, going on excursions to see the sights and attractions. At the same time, your country may be of interest to the Slovaks. I really like Belarus and it would be nice if Slovak tourists discovered your country. It would be good if sanatoriums and resorts started to cooperate more closely too. This sector is well-developed both in your country and in our country: mineral water, clean air, beautiful nature. It would be worthwhile to organize a separate forum for medical and health tourism so that we could start working together, helping each other and exchanging experience,” Ljubica Alusicova said.

The two countries also need to improve transport links. "We have arranged the route to reach Slovakia from Russia and Ukraine. Now, it is time to think over the route from Minsk to Slovakia. The airline which flies from Vienna to Minsk is not cheap. Thus the cost for the flight ticket accounts for half of the cost of the holiday voucher. It would be better to organize a train service. Or, for example, to combine a train service to Brest, and then a bus service,” Ljubica Alusicova added.

She also believes that it makes sense to invest in the hotel business in Belarus, and Vitebsk Oblast in particular. "During the Slavonic Bazaar there is no free room in the city. The city needs more hotels. And they will not be empty once the festival is over. There are a lot of things to see in Vitebsk. But the city needs to work on its high-quality excursion program, its tourist product. It will be enough for the city to include two museums – those of Ilya Repin and Marc Chagall - into the excursion program, and the Europeans will flock to Vitebsk as they love the art of these artists. You need to think on your signature feature, your national colors to attract tourists. You also should promote your textiles and especially your flax linen! If you show them to tourists, you will have no problems with sales,” Ljubica Alusicova said.

More than 50 Slovak companies are attending the business forum running in Vitebsk on 8-10 July. Representatives of the travel industries will arrange the Belarusian-Slovak tourist fair to present their services not only to the participants of the business forum but also to all residents and guests of Vitebsk as the city will be hosting the International Festival of Arts Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk.

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