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25 Aug 2016

Visa-free travels to three more nature reserves in Belarus under consideration

MINSK, 25 August (BelTA) – The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry suggests introducing visa-free travels for tourists willing to visit another three transboundary nature reserves. Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Andrei Kovkhuto made the statement during the joint session of the boards of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry and the Sports and Tourism Ministry on 25 August, BelTA has learned. The session was focused on developing ecological tourism in Belarus.

The official said: “Developing transboundary ecological tourism is important as well. Such ecological routes in the national park Belovezhskaya Pushcha have been available for quite some time now. Tourists, who travel in the Belarusian part of this forest, can visit the Polish part, too, provided they have Schengen visas. Apart from that, tourists can visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha without visas for up to 72 hours since 2015. Taking into account this positive experience, it would be a good idea to consider waiving visas for tourists, who intend to visit the transboundary nature reserves Kotra – Chapkelyai, Richi – Silene and Braslav Lakes – Augsdaugava.”

Andrei Kovkhuto also reminded about the creation of the new transboundary route Along the Secret Locations of the Lake District that will go through territories in Belarus and Russia. The route is supposed to include several national parks at once such as Braslav Lakes, Narochansky, Smolensk Lake District, Sebezhsky, and the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve. If all of them are included, the route will be 500km long for tourists.

As of 1 July 2016 Belarus had 1,275 protected territories, including the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, four national parks (Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Braslav Lakes, Pripyatsky, and Narochansky), 98 reserved forests of national importance, 275 reserved forests of municipal importance, 329 natural landmarks of national importance, and 568 natural landmarks of municipal importance.

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