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15 Feb 2017

MFA: Belarus’ decision to introduce visa-free travel welcomed by foreign partners

MFA: Belarus’ decision to introduce visa-free travel welcomed by foreign partners

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – Belarus’ decision to introduce visa-free entry for nationals of 80 countries have been welcomed by foreign partners, spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Mironchik said during an online conference on the website of the Belarusian TV and Radio Company on 15 February, BelTA has learned.

Dmitry Mironchik said that the first days since the launch of visa-free travel have seen quite positive results. German, Polish, Chinese, Italian and Lithuanian nationals have been among the most active users of the visa-free travel option. Belarus has also welcomed guests from other countries, for instance, Malta.

The MFA spokesman emphasized that the decision to introduce visa-free travel for citizens of a number of countries does not mean any policy shift. “Our motives are quite clear: to boost the country’s tourism appeal and make it more attractive for business,” Dmitry Mironchik said.

He cited an example from the field of foreign trade. Belarus is working to diversify its markets. However, it does not leave its traditional markets. The same principle applies to inbound tourism. Citizens of Russia and other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States constitute a considerable share of tourists coming to Belarus. “We do not close our country for them. On the contrary, we do everything we can to make Belarus more appealing to them as a tourism destination. We are not talking about shifting the focus. The matter is about diversification, expanding the circle of partners,” Dmitry Mironchik stressed.

As of 9am on 15 February, as many as 465 foreign citizens entered Belarus via the border checkpoint in Minsk National Airport taking advantage of the five-day visa-free option.

The five-day visa-free entry to Belarus was launched on 12 February. The new regulations apply to citizens of 39 countries of Europe, including the entire European Union, as well as Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, Japan, and other countries. First of all, these are the countries without migration issues, Belarus’ strategic partners, the countries that unilaterally apply visa-free entry regulations for Belarusian citizens.

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