Brest welcomed the first visa-free tourists on 1 January, who arrived to Belarus from Polish Terespol by train.
A family from Biala Podlaska is the first group of tourists who arrived to Brest visa free.
The guests were welcomed by the local authorities, the tour operator, and mass media.
Recall that starting 1 January foreign visitors can stay in several areas of Brest Oblast and Grodno Oblast up to 10 days without visa.
“We are very pleased with such attention.
We have never had such a warm welcome in other places before,” the guests from Poland said.
The family spent the whole day in the city taking part in a sightseeing tour, museum excursions and shopping.
They also tasted national dishes as the part of the entertaining program organised for them by the tour operator.
“It was difficult to come to Brest in the past. We needed visas.
First you apply for the visa and then wait till it is issued. There were the barriers.
Now we needed a voucher, insurance and passports only. We can travel freely.
It is very good. We know that Brest is a beautiful city.
We decided to spend the beginning of the year here,” the father of the family explained.
Brest is fully prepared
Sergei Zhukov, the Deputy Chairman of the Brest City Hall, noted that Brest is prepared for the arrival of more visa-free tourists.
“The Brest City Hall has done everything to implement the decree of the head of state which was signed before the New Year.
Of course, tour operators will work hard. As of today, there are more than 100 tour operators in Brest.
Right now only 27 operators have corresponding licenses of the Sport and Tourism Ministry allowing them to work with visa-free tourists.
Our major tour operator is Bresttourist. The Intourist Hotel has the necessary infrastructure.
We also have a tourism information center, transport, specialists with a good command of foreign languages,” Sergei Zhukov said.
Currently there are 20 hotels in Brest which can accommodate up to 2,000 tourists.
About 20 sightseeing tours have been developed in the city.
Brest’s export of tourism services made up $3.5 million in 2017.