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Inclusive tourism in Belarus


Traveling options for people who want and love to travel, but are limited in mobility: A review of excursions and tours, sanatoriums and resorts, disability friendly customer service, infrastructure.

Belarus is working hard to appeal to a wider range of tourists, including travelers with special needs. According to internationally recognized criteria, the term ‘inclusive tourism’ means tourism catering for the entire community of travelers, regardless of ability. Apart from people with disabilities, this group also includes elder tourists, pregnant women and mothers with small children, very tall or very short people, overweight people.

Belarus’ tourism industry is trying to enhance travel experiences for people with special needs. For example, one of the main targets of the National Tourism Strategy until 2035 is to create an adaptive infrastructure and an accessible environment at tourism facilities based on the principles of universal design. Many tasks are also addressed within the framework of the government program Hospitable Belarus for 2021-2025. Among them are to develop excursion tours for people with special needs, to update the standards of providing tourism services to cater to a wider range of travelers.

However, inclusive tourists, unfortunately, may still face some difficulties in Minsk and in the regions of the country. Not all venues have the necessary infrastructure for travelers with special needs. This pertains to transport, accommodation, dining facilities, museums, information centers, tourist sites, etc.. In addition, there are still not enough specialists in the tourism industry who know how to accommodate the needs and abilities of such guests. Nevertheless, such travelers can always count on a friendly welcome and special or separate assistance.

Excursions and tours

In Belarus, more than 100 travel companies provide services to inclusive tourists. Many issues are resolved remotely, but travel agents are ready to come to the client’s hotel / home to help choose a tour or plan excursions around the country taking into account individual needs.

Today, each region of Belarus offers dozens of tours for travelers with special needs. Such tours include visits to famous palace and park ensembles and castles, memorial complexes and museums, churches and monasteries, monuments of history, art, archeology, architecture and urban planning, industrial companies, natural attractions. UNESCO World Heritage sites - Mir Castle, Nesvizh Palace, Belovezhskaya Pushcha – are also accessible to travelers with special needs.

About 90 out of 115 museums in the country are wheelchair accessible and are ready to provide an ‘inclusive’ tourism experience. By the way, most museums offer people with disabilities discounts or free admission to permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as cultural and educational events.

While traveling across Belarus, inclusive tourists can easily access all the most interesting sites. For example, a fascinating excursion ‘Independence Square’ in the very heart of Minsk caters for the blind and visually impaired travelers and people who use wheelchairs. Lida, a home to one of the country’s oldest castles, launched an inclusive 10km cycling route along the central streets. The famous auto giant BelAZ offers factory tours for people with visual impairments and wheelchair users. An eco-trail in Naliboki Forest is convenient for people in wheelchairs, the visually impaired, guests with hearing impairments…

Detailed information about excursions and tours for inclusive travelers in each region of Belarus can be found here:

Accommodation

Some 200 out of the country’s 613 accommodation facilities are disability friendly. In Minsk, rooms for physically impaired people and wheelchair users are available in the following hotels: Europe, Victoria, Victoria SPA, Victoria Olimp, Belarus, Garni, Sputnik, Hotel on Zamkovaya, Monastyrski, Sport Time, East Time, IT Time, Aqua Minsk, Aqua Minsk Plus, Voyage.

Sanatoriums and resorts

A barrier-free environment for guests with limited mobility is now available in 90% of sanatoriums and health resorts in Belarus. Specially equipped rooms are not yet available everywhere, but many sanatoriums are actively working to improve their offering to suit the needs of a wider range of guests.

Agri-ecotourism

As of 1 January 2021, there were 2,936 agro-ecotourism facilities across Belarus, but only about 75 of them are ready to accommodate tourists with special needs.

Barrier-free infrastructure

At present, social infrastructure facilities under construction as well as cultural facilities, retail outlets, dining facilities and hotels under renovation will be adapted to fulfill the needs of all people equally whenever possible. Barrier-free infrastructure includes ramps, accessible bathrooms, specially designed rooms, Braille and QR code signs, tactile tiles, etc.
 
More information about traveling options for people with mobility limitations is available here.

Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus