A direct air service may be launched between Belarus' Grodno and China's Hainan. Tourism cooperation issues were discussed at a meeting between the Grodno Oblast authorities and a delegation of Hainan on 5 September, BelTA has learned.
The regions plan to sign a memorandum of cooperation and establish twin-town relations in the future. Grodno Oblast will become the first such partner for Hainan in the Russian-speaking region.
"The development of relations with China is one of the key areas of our work. Mutual trade is still not big: about $200 million a year. We mainly supply the Chinese market with products of the chemical industry, woodworking and also food products, mainly dairy products. Our potential, however, is still hugely untapped," Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov said at the meeting. He added that there are many areas for mutually beneficial cooperation. Tourism is one of them.
"Hainan is an island province of China with mild climate. Our resorts draw millions of tourists from over the world. We will be happy to see Belarusian tourists here as well," Mao Wanchun, Chairman of the Hainan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said. For this purpose China suggested launching a direct air service between Grodno and Hainan.
"This is a mutually beneficial proposal. Belarusian climate is perfect for holiday when we have a hot summer," Mao Wanchun said. He also invited a delegation of Grodno Oblast to attend the international tourism festival.
The parties will look into the possibilities of implementing joint projects, first of all in transport and logistics within the Belt and Road initiative. Cooperation in healthcare also can be a promising area. There is a center of Chinese traditional medicine in Grodno. The parties, however, are interested in a closer sharing of experience, specialists, and best practices. The regions also plan to establish contacts in culture, education and high technology.