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Opinions & Interviews

10 Nov 2016

Considerable potential for greater tourism contribution to Belarus’, Russia’s GDPs

BREST, 10 November (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia have a considerable potential for increasing the contribution of the tourism industry to their GDPs. The statement was made by Margarita Levchenko, Head of the Social Policy and Information Support Department of the Permanent Committee of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, during a seminar in Brest on 10 November, BelTA has learned.

According to the source, tourism industry accounts for 5.8% of Belarus’ GDP. The contribution of the tourism industry to Russia’s GDP is roughly the same — 5.7%. However, the potential contribaution is much higher, believes Margarita Levchenko. “I strongly hope that the solutions and proposals this seminar will work out will make up the foundation for taking real actions to develop tourism and Belarus-Russia interaction in this area,” stressed the official.

Belarus welcomed about 244,000 Russians in 2015. Meanwhile, 130,000 Belarusians visited Russia as organized tourist groups. Russian tourists stay in Belarus for five days on the average. It is one of the highest figures in the CIS space.

The number of tourists visiting Belarus and Russia rises every year. The organization of such trips improves as well. Over 300,000 foreign tourists, including 209,000 from Russia, stayed in Belarusian hotels, sanatoriums, ecotourism and farm tourism outlets in H1 2016.

Travelling inside the Union State of Belarus and Russia has not been a problem for Belarusians and Russians for a long time. At the same time not all third-country citizens can cross the open Belarusian-Russian border primarily due to security reasons. Oleg Shvets, Chief of the Border Cooperation Group of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), said that the Russian border service stopped over 3,500 violators of Russian laws in 2015 as they tried to cross the Belarusian-Russian border.

The 47th session of the permanent seminar established under the aegis of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia to discuss the construction of the Union State is scheduled to take place in Brest on 10-11 November to discuss problems and development prospects of tourism industry in the Union State.

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