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Belarus, China sign protocol to China-Belarus visa abolition agreement for group tourists

18 November 2015

MINSK (BelTA) - Belarus and China signed the Protocol to the China-Belarus visa abolition agreement for group tourists, BelTA learned from the press service of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism.

"On behalf of Belarus the document was signed by Minister of Sport and Tourism Alexander Shamko, on behalf of China by Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration Li Jinzao. The parties believe that the document will create the necessary legal and organizational conditions for boosting bilateral tourism,” the press service noted.

During the talks, Alexander Shamko informed Li Jinzao that the decree of the President of Belarus on visa-free entry and departure for Chinese citizens came into force in August this year. It also allows transit through the territory of Belarus and temporary stay in the country for up to three days. This procedure is valid for the Chinese citizens arriving by direct flights from China, if they have valid visas of the European Union member states or the states parties to the Schengen agreement.

The Belarusian minister noted that Chinese travelers can choose from over 90 tourist routes in Belarus. Especially popular are cultural and educational tours with visits to Mir and Nesvizh castles, military-historical tourism, the so-called green trips to national parks and holidays at rural estates. According to Alexander Shamko, recuperation trips to health resorts of Belarus, hunting may become promising areas of cooperation in tourism.

Thanks to the cooperation of the two countries' tourist organizations, the flow of Chinese tourists to Belarus has become steady (about 11,500 per year).

"However, the available cooperation potential is not fully used given that China is one of the fastest growing outbound tourism markets in the world," the press service quoted the minister as saying. In his opinion, to enhance the tourist exchange the two countries need to intensify contacts in all areas: from government bodies to public associations and entities. This can also be facilitated by the establishment of a joint Belarusian-Chinese tour operator, expansion of flight programs of Belarusian and Chinese airlines, and raising the awareness of the public about the tourist opportunities in the two countries.

According to Alexander Shamko, Belarus is interested in the Chinese experience in establishing the transport, catering and hotel infrastructure capable to receive and serve million-strong tourist flows. Interesting is also the practice of using r the sports facilities for tourism purposes.

Belarus' Minister of Sport and Tourism invited the Chinese counterpart to visit Belarus to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation.

Alexander Shamko attended TRAVEL MART (CITM 2015) expo which was held in Kunming, held talks with the heads of tourist administrations of the countries-participants of the expo to discuss the promising areas of cooperation.

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