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The expansion of the visa-free travel area will have a positive impact on business and jobs, Grodno Oblast Vice Governor Viktor Liskovich told reporters, BelTA has learned.
"Grodno Oblast is an attractive region for tourists. We are constantly working on new routes, drawing up new offers for tourists. The expansion of the visa-free travel area will have a positive impact on the tourism industry," Viktor Liskovich said as he addressed a meeting of the inter-agency coordinating council on tourism at the Council of Ministers in Novogrudok.
The president has recently signed a decree to combine the existing separate visa-free travel areas around Brest and Grodno into one visa-free travel area named Brest-Grodno. New districts have been added to the new area. Foreign tourists will be able to travel across the entirety of the western regions, provided they do so as part of organized tourist groups. The decree will come into force in November 2019.
"The flow of visa-free tourists has been growing: since the beginning of the year, for example, we have welcomed more than 75,000. For the time being they can visit the city of Grodno and Grodno District without visas. It is important that for the two years and a half since the visa-free travel program was launched, we have created over 1,300 new jobs in the city and surrounding areas. Construction of hotels, hostels, cafes, restaurants, and other hospitality facilities has been growing. So has small and medium business," Viktor Liskovich said. It is important to offer good interesting tourist products and also favorable conditions for tourism and recreation. Then, Viktor Liskovich is sure, tourists will want to come visit again.
Novogrudok is one of Belarus' tourist hubs, which has been successfully developing its historical, patriotic and other types of tourism. Participants of the meeting visited the castles in Lyubcha and Novogrudok, the Museum of Jewish Resistance, and Adam Mickiewicz House-Museum. The agenda of the meeting included issues related to tourism development, conservation, restoration and use of historical and cultural heritage sites.