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Opinions & Interviews

29 Jun 2019

UNWTO to draw on Minsk 2019 experience to promote sport tourism

UNWTO to draw on Minsk 2019 experience to promote sport tourism

MINSK, 29 June (BelTA) – Minsk’s experience in hosting the 2nd European Games will be used as we prepare comprehensive recommendations on sport tourism for the countries – members of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),  UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a meeting in the Minsk Town Hall, BelTA has learned.

“The whole of Europe is in Minsk these days. This is a positive result for the country. The world will learn more about it. This is a comfortable and safe country to spend a week with a family, to see the beautiful city of Minsk. Especially pleasant is hospitality that you feel immediately,” Zurab Pololikashvili said. He thanked for the opportunity to participate in the major sports event and noted that he intends to see the result of the games and talk about it with other members of the organization.

“Last year we started to analyze the impact of sport tourism. Various mega-events such as Olympic, European games, festivals are held around the world. We want to translate this into numbers to understand the effect: what investments and profits are not only in terms of finances but also image-wise,” the UNWTO head said.

In his words, eco- and agro- tourism are promising lines of hospitality business for Belarus. “We plan to visits several sites tomorrow and get familiar with the local practices,” said the official. This is his first visit to Belarus. The UNWTO plans to declare 2020 the Year of Rural Tourism and Belarus can become an excellent example of how this industry can be developed, Zurab Pololikashvili said.

He invited Belarus to take part in the forthcoming conference on urban tourism in Nur-Sultan in October 2019 and the Second UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism in 2020. This is a new initiative of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. In 2019, 30 mayors and 15 vice mayors met for the first time to discuss tourism development (transport, infrastructure). All the recommendations will be submitted to Minsk as well.

Minsk Mayor Anatoly Sivak thanked the guest for the opportunity to use international experience, and take part in decision making.

Zurab Pololikashvili promised all possible support to Minsk and Belarus in the development of its tourism potential.

Apart from attending the closing ceremony of the 2nd European Games in Minsk, Zurab Pololikashvili is also expected to hold meetings with high-ranking officials.

Belarus joined UNWTO in 2005. The organization unites 158 countries.

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