Belarus may start operating the promised visa-free policy for citizens of 80 countries by the end of the year, the Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism Mikhail Portnoy told the media on Monday, September 26.
The relevant document “is almost ready”, the official added.
As was reported previously, the 80 countries in question are countries “without migration problems”, e.g. neighbors of Belarus, other EU states, the USA, Canada, and others. The document envisages 5-day visa-free stay for tourists who arrive in Belarus through Minsk Airport.
According to Mikhail Portnoy, last year tourists mostly stayed in the country for five days. This is probably connected with the registration that foreigners are required to obtain if they stay in Belarus for a longer period.
He noted that the Economy Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sports and Tourism Ministry are actively supporting the visa-free initiative. “The defense and law enforcement agencies voice certain doubts. Of course, national security is paramount”, Mikhail Portnoi stated.
The Tourism Ministry also has plans to introduce visa-free entrance for visitors of certain cultural events and caravanners who travel via Belarus and stop at local camping sites. The measure was tested in May on Lake Selyava and proved successfull.
“I believe the document will be adopted, because it is related to the country’s economy. Two major transport corridors pass through Belarus, and we could earn from them. So far we haven’t earned much because of visas and the lack of infrastructure”, the Deputy Minister concluded.