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Opinions & Interviews

8 Feb 2017

Belarus-Israel tourist flow doubles following visa-free travel agreement

Belarus-Israel tourist flow doubles following visa-free travel agreement

MINSK, 8 February (BelTA) – The agreement on visa-free trips between Belarus and Israel has lead to a considerable increase in tourist numbers, with the two countries showing interest in further cooperation, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Israel Vladimir Skvortsov told BelTA after the talks of the Belarusian delegation led by Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi in Tel Aviv.

“Both Belarus and Israel are demonstrating interest in intensifying cooperation and increasing tourist exchanges. This interest is largely based on the fact and Israel and Belarus are the countries with close relations, historical ties and numerous contacts. In 2016 the number of tourists between Belarus and Israel doubled. The introduction of visa-free regime between the two countries played an important role,” the diplomat said.

Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi is paying a visit to Israel as part of the Belarusian delegation on 5-8 February. The Belarusian representatives are taking part in the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) in Tel Aviv. The national information stand features representatives of the National Tourism Agency, the sports and tourism department of Grodno Oblast, Minotel, Vesta service center, Belprofsoyuzkurort, Paradise Travel, and health resorts Alfa Radon and Ozernyi.

The Belarusian tourism industry is a regular participant of the IMTM exposition. This year the expo hosted a big presentation of Belarus’ tourism potential. Such presentations have been recently making a regional focus. Last year it was Brest Oblast and its Belovezhskaya Pushcha, this year it is Grodno Oblast and its Augustow Canal and other landmarks.

Mikhail Portnoi met with Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin. The parties stressed that the introduction of visa-free travel regulations between Belarus and Israel has resulted in a significant growth of mutual tourist numbers. The officials discussed the main areas for the development of ties between the two ministries and agreed on the need to resume the work of the joint Belarusian-Israeli Tourism Committee.

The deputy minister also met with representatives of the Belarusian diaspora at the embassy. He held talks with the authorities of the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and Israeli investors that show interest in the implementation of tourism projects in Belarus.

Mikhail Portnoi visited Netanya to study the tourism potential of the city and hold talks with representatives of the city council.

The deputy minister also gave interviews to a number of local journalists and, together with Director of the National Tourism Agency of Belarus Veronika Dorozhko, took part in the TV show Day.

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