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28 Jun 2016

Visa-free entry to Augustow Canal expected to increase tourist arrivals

Visa-free entry to Augustow Canal expected to increase tourist arrivals

SVISLOCH, 28 June (BelTA) – The introduction of visa-free travel at the Augustow Canal will increase tourist arrivals, Chairman of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Vladimir Kravtsov said at a press conference on 28 June, BelTA has learned.

“At the moment, we are finalizing the international procedures to upgrade the border checkpoint Lesnaya-Rudawka at the Augustow Canal. Once the renovation works are complete, the checkpoint will allow pedestrians, cyclists and waterborne vehicles to cross. The next step will be to establish visa-free travel at the Augustow Canal via this border checkpoint, similar to that which already exists in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha,” Vladimir Kravtsov noted. This will make the canal more appealing to tourists from the European Union, he added.

Besides, there are two major cycling trails crossing the border near the checkpoint. Plans have been made to include the upgraded cycling routes of the Belarusian part of the Augustow Canal into these two international bike trails. “Big numbers of tourists use these trails passing us by. We are going to attract them to Belarus,” Vladimir Kravtsov pointed out.

He believes that Grodno Oblast should work harder to tap into its tourism potential, the natural assets and transit capacity. There are many examples of successfully growing businesses in eco-tourism and the hospitality sector. These areas are expected to attract small and medium-sized businesses and foreign investment and promote cross-border cooperation. More than a hundred projects have been developed in Grodno Oblast as part of cross-border cooperation programs. Many of them are related to the hospitality business.

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