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“We Want More Days”: First Visa-Free Tourists Arrive In Belarus

First visa-free tourists arrived in Belarus from China, Finland and Italy. Starting 12 February citizens of 80 states can spend up to 5 days in the country without a visa.

Journalists didn’t meet the very first visa-free tourist – a Finnish man arrived in Minsk from Slovakia and passed the border control at the airport at 00:01.

Li Yan, another ‘pioneer’ of visa-free entry, came in Minsk from Abu Dhabi. The Chinese, who is an air traffic controller, said she had learned about visa abolition from her colleagues from Russia and Belarus.

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Li Yan is going to spend time in Minsk, do the sightseeing and visit museums.

The tourist does not much about the country – she heard that there are wonderful people, great food, beautiful nature and a lot of snow in winter.

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In her view, five days is enough to see Belarus.

“Because I can come again and again”, Li Yan said.

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Ricardo Bianchi, an Italian, arrived from Milan by Vienna-Minsk plane. He was met by his girlfriend.

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“As he comes here often, the abolition of visas was good news for him. But Ricardo says he would like visa-free stay to be longer”, the man’s friend translated.

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She said the Italian has been in Belarus over a dozen times already. “He likes castles, nature and churches“, the girl said.

Alex Drozdovskis, a Lithuanian, arrived in Minsk on business at the invitation of a local company.

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The man, who is going to spend one day in Belarusian the capital, believes travelling without a visa to be very comfortable. “In Europe we do not have visas”, he said.

Tomasz Ksyazek arrived on a flight from Warsaw.

He came to Belarus for work, but said he wanted to combine business with pleasure and do some sightseeing in Minsk.

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“I passed the border control very quickly, I was even surprised”, the traveler said. “But I was asked to show my insurance, I did not expect I would have to.”

The man learned about the abolition of visas for 5-day trips to Belarus from the Polish media.

“It was reported that Lukashenko is making a step to openness. But it was not clear from the article that visa-free entry starts today.”

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According to Mikhail Portnoy, the Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism, said the country expects tourist numbers to rise by 15-20%.

The biggest tourist flows are expected from the EU countries, the USA, and the countries with large diasporas of Belarusian immigrants.


See also: 5 Handy Travel Apps You Can Use To Explore Belarus