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21 Jun 2018

Visa-free areas of Brest, Grodno oblasts might be merged

MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) – The visa-free tourist areas of Brest Oblast and Grodno Oblast are to be merged, Deputy Chairman of the Tourism Department, Head of the Tourism Planning Sector of Belarus’ Sports and Tourism Ministry, told the media on 21 June, BelTA informs.

According to Vitaly Gritsevich, the ministry expects an inflow of individual travelers to these areas.

“Since 1 January Grodno Oblast alone welcomed 30,000 travelers who took advantage of the visa-free program. If we take the period since October 2016 the number will make 80,000. The period of stay in the visa-free tourist area has increased from five to ten days. The area covered by this program has expanded. The Grodno Oblast Executive Committee suggests including Novogrudok into it. We are currently evaluating the efficiency of our moves. We consider uniting the two visa-free areas into one,” Vitaly Gritsevich said.

The Tourism and Recreation Zone Brest that incorporates the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park has welcomed over 5,000 visitors since the start of the year. According to Vitaly Gritsevich, the amalgamation of the two areas would be very instrumental for promoting cycling and hiking tourism in Belarus.

As it was reported, Decree No. 462 on the visa-free entry and departure of foreign nationals came into force on 1 January 2018. It has extended the duration of visa-free stay to ten days, expanded the visa-free area, and increased the number of border checkpoints for visa-free entry.

Foreign tourists visiting the Augustow Canal Park are now allowed to travel to the city of Grodno and entire Grodno District. Those who go to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park can also travel all over the Tourism and Recreation Zone Brest (it includes the city of Brest, as well as Brest District, Zhabinka District, Kamenets District and Pruzhany District of Brest Oblast and Svisloch District of Grodno Oblast). To be able to visit one of the two visa-free destinations, a foreign national has to present a valid passport and a document allowing them (individuals or groups of tourists) to visit the above-mentioned visa-free areas. This paper can be obtained while purchasing a tour from a certified tour operator. In line with the decree, citizens of 77 countries will be able to stay in Belarus up to ten days without visas.

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