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19 Jul 2016

Chinese tourists to start visiting Belarus without visas soon

MINSK, 19 July (BelTA) – The first groups of Chinese tourists will be able to visit Belarus without visas within the next few months. The statement was made by Natalia Yeliseyeva, Deputy Director, Head of the Tourism Planning and Organization Section of the Tourism Department of the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Ministry, on 19 July, BelTA has learned.

According to the source, the relevant agreement has been ratified both by the Belarusian side and the Chinese one. The Sports and Tourism Ministry and parties concerned have come up with criteria to choose the travel agencies that will be able to organize visa-free trips for tourist groups. The list of the travel agencies is going through the revision and approval process. “I think the matter will be settled within one month. The Chinese side is supposed to approve a similar list of companies. Both Belarus and China are working on it. The work is in the final stage,” said Natalia Yeliseyeva.

Asked whether groups of Chinese tourists will be able to visit Belarus without visas by the end of the year, Natalia Yeliseyeva noted that they will be able to do it much earlier than that since all the practical matters have been taken care of. Only the lists of authorized travel agencies have to be approved now.

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus and China have agreed to lift visa requirements on a reciprocal basis for groups of tourists that include five and more people. Such groups have to be organized by authorized travel agencies.

At present Chinese citizens can stay in Belarus without visas for 72 hours. The option is available to Chinese citizens, who arrive by direct flights from China, if their passports contain valid visas of a European Union member state or a Schengen zone participating state.

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