Belarus opens door to welcome more Chinese tourists

Updated 2018-01-16 10:40:02 China Daily

Belarus will further open its doors and expects to attract more Chinese tourists as the countries signed a memorandum in Beijing on Friday.

When Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Sochi, Belarus, at the end of 2017, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said he hoped the two countries could designate 2018 a Year of Tourism to expand cooperation.

Belarus wishes to use its historical travel route to attract Chinese tourists since the country preserves the most remains of World War II, said Mikhail Partny, vice-minister of the Belarusian Ministry of Sports and Tourism.

The two sides also discussed how to facilitate expanding tourism activities, including visa and air flights.

Kiryl Rudy, Belarusian ambassador to China, said the country wishes to make every effort to facilitate visa liberalization as well as promote visafree travel for Chinese tour groups. Currently, Chinese citizens holding a valid Schengen visa can stay in Belarus for five visa-free days.

"Although there are already direct flights from Beijing to Minsk (capital of Belarus) operated by Air China, we are expecting more direct flights between other Chinese cities and Belarus," he said.

Next year, Belarus will participate in trade shows and business talks in China to attract more Chinese agencies for cooperation and raise the awareness of local tourists visiting Belarus, according to the ambassador.

Rudy said Belarus will focus on promoting Belarusian tourism at the 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, and will build more culture and communication centers to promote Belarus.

"We will use a full range of information dissemination channels, such as the embassy's official WeChat account and website, to publish the Belarusian tourist routes and information," he said.

According to the embassy, about 17,000 Chinese tourists visited the country in 2016, and the number rose to 20,000 last year.

"There are Chinese signs and broadcasts in Minsk's airport. You can use Union Pay and can find Chinese restaurants selling food, like noodles. We are even thinking about introducing Chongqing hot pot to Belarus," Rudy said.


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