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Opinions & Interviews

8 Apr 2015

Taleb Rifai: Tourist flow to Belarus will increase on annual basis

Taleb Rifai: Tourist flow to Belarus will increase on annual basis

MINSK, 8 April (BelTA) – The tourist flow to Belarus will increase every year, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai said at the international conference, Sustainable Tourism for Regional Economic Development, on 8 April, BelTA has learned.

“It is my first visit to Belarus and I have already noticed how Minsk is beautiful. The flow of tourists to Belarus is on a constant increase which proves the fact that a lot is done for tourism development in the country. I think that the 2014 IIHF World Championship made its contribution to the enhancement of tourism attractiveness,” UNWTO head said.

Taleb Rifai expressed hope that cooperation between the UNWTO and Belarus would be expanded in the near future. “The number of tourists will continue increasing worldwide and Belarus is not an exception. You country can tell a lot about its landmarks. The history and culture of Belarus will be interesting to tourists from all over the world,” he said.

First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, Belarus President’s aide in physical education, sport and tourism development Maksim Ryzhenkov noted for his part that Belarus is ready for cooperation with the World Tourism Organization and joint projects. “The role of tourism as an economic instrument increases its significance in our country. Belarus expands its network of hotels, develops agro-ecotourism, attaches a lot of attention to the preservation of natural heritage, national parks, reserves. We are ready not only to accept UNWTO recommendations but also share our experience, for instance, in agro-ecotourism development,” he said.

The goal of the conference is to distribute Belarus’ and international experience in local economic development through sustainable tourism, strengthening public-private partnership in tourism as well as the distribution of knowledge and experience in using modern technologies for advancing tourism clusters.

Partaking in the conference are over 250 people. During the first themed bloc, Tourism and Regional Economic Development, UNWTO experts will tell about world trends in ecotourism development. Among the other themes for discussion is public-private partnership in ecotourism and the best international practices of involving local communities. Specialists will discuss agro-ecotourism prospects in Belarus, the regional economic development in the country. The second theme bloc will be highlight tourism clusters: their formation, innovative methods of advancement, availability of ecotourism products for people with disabilities.

Among the organizers of the event is the Sport and Tourism Ministry of Belarus, USAID project, Local Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, run by UNDP.

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