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Opinions & Interviews

6 Jul 2017

UNWTO head: Belarus can receive 2 to 4 times more tourists

UNWTO head: Belarus can receive 2 to 4 times more tourists

MINSK, 6 July (BelTA) – Belarus can receive 2 to 4 times more tourists, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai told the media in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

He noted that everything is in place in Belarus for a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the coming years. Taleb Rifai believes that at this stage, it would be worthwhile to focus on developing the country’s brand. This is the key theme of the conference on branding and innovative ideas to attract tourists, which is running in Minsk on 6 and 7 July. “Investing in tourist infrastructure – airports, hotels, highways – is important. But at this stage it will be wiser for Belarus to invest in the promotion of the brand. Belarus has the capacity to receive 2 to 4 times more tourists,” Taleb Rifai said.

During his first visit to Belarus in 2015, Taleb Rifai and the Belarusian authorities discussed measures to ease the visa requirements. He noted that the country has done a lot, and this will yield results in terms of tourist numbers. “Two years have passed, and I see that much of what we discussed back then has been implemented,” said Taleb Rifai.

The goal of the current visit of the UNWTO head is to assist the establishment of the country’s brand and its promotion. “The world needs to learn more about Belarus, and promotion is the only way to achieve this. Branding is one of the first steps,” he said. According to Taleb Rifai, the development of a brand helped many countries increase tourist flows: Malaysia, India, Colombia, etc. The brand should receive positive feedback not only from international experts, consultants, and foreign tourists, but also from the locals. In fact the brand is the country’s second flag, he said.

The Second European Games in Minsk in 2019 will be another good opportunity to discover Belarus.

“I am sure that in 3 to 4 years Belarus can indeed become one of the tourism leaders,” the UNWTO head said.

 

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