The Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka has signed a new decree on a 10-days visa-free entry regime for foreigners on December 26, after the successful 5-days visa-free entry regime of last year to the Augustow zone in the Hrodna region. The decree will allow tourists from 80 countries of the planet to visit and experience Belarus for ten days in a row.
The measures are expected to increase the flow of foreign tourists to Belarus. According to the Deputy Chairman of Brest Oblast Executive Committee, Oleg Velichko, the extension of visa-free stay program in Belarus’ regions will primarily interest tourists from Western Europe, and especially the neighbor Polish citizens.
The Belarusian authorities expect the new decree which has come into force on January 1, 2018 to affect small and medium-sized businesses in order to develop more actively, and thus generate new jobs for Belarusian residents.
The new regulations will be adopted in these parts of Belarus:
- Brest District,
- Zhabinki District,
- Kamenets District,
- Pruzhany District and
- Svisloch District.
Most of the tourists in Belarus wish to visit the Augustow Canal or the Brest tourism and recreation zone. In order to do so, foreign visitors shall carry with them a valid travel document and also posses a document granting them a right to visit the relevant territory, whether it is a group or an individual.
In 2016, more than 79,200 foreign tourists have taken advantage of the 5-fay visa-free entry to Belarus, while the number of tourists extending the period of stay is insignificant, authorities say. Tourists from 65 countries, including such exotic ones as Nicaragua, Panama, Antigua and Barbuda took advantage of the visa free-entry. However, most of the visa-free tourists were coming from countries like Germany – with 12,700 tourists, Poland – with nearly 7,600, and Italy – with over 6,700.
Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Sports and Belarusian Customs had voted for 30-day visa-free entrance for tourists, but the concerns of certain state institutions prevent the establishment of a longer, 30-day visa-free regime. However, citizens of the United Arab Emirates are the only ones that already benefit from a visa-free entry programme in Belarus which allows them to stay for up to 30 days in this country.
Read more about Belarus Visa Requirements.
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