Tuesday, 16 May 2017

BELARUS:UNWTO Supports Scraping Visa Requirements

UNWTO has expressed its full support to the decision of the Government of Belarus to launch the 5-day visa-free policy that will be applicable to travelers from 80 countries.

The measure aims at advancing seamless travel and attracting visitors, particularly those on business trips.

The Government of Belarus has recently decided to advance visa facilitation as a means to stimulate tourism development. The decision introduces visa-free entry at the Minsk National Airport and visa-free stay in Belarus for up to five days for the citizens of 80 states.

Among those, there are 39 countries of Europe, including the entire European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, the USA and Japan.

“Visa facilitation is among the most effective strategies to induce tourism development in a region or in a country, so we are sure that the tourism sector will experience a positive shift in Belarus,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai.

The promotion of seamless travel is one of UNWTO’s priorities, considering the proven capacity of visa facilitation to stimulate economic growth and job creation through tourism.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree scrapping visa requirements for residents of 80 foreign countries for a period of no more than five days, the press service of the Belarusian president reports.

“The document establishes visa-free procedures of entry into Belarus for a period no longer than five days on entry via a check point across the State Border, the Minsk National Airport, for citizens of 80 countries,” it said, specifying that the decree covers 39 European countries, including all EU countries, as well as Brazil, Indonesia, the United States and Japan.

First of all these are migrant-friendly countries, strategic partners of Belarus, states that have unilaterally introduced a visa-free regime for Belarusian nationals,” the press service explained. The decree also applies to “non-citizens of Latvia and stateless persons of Estonia.

“The document is aimed at giving a boost to travels of business people, tourists, individuals having domestic passports and will not apply to foreigners making official trips: diplomatic, business, special and other passports equivalent to them will not be taken into consideration,” the press service commented.

As for the citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, Honduras, India, China, Lebanon, Namibia and Samoa, a compulsory additional demand for them is to have in their passports a valid multi-entry visa of a EU or a Schengen zone state with a mark confirming the entry to their territory, as well as plane tickets confirming the departure from the Minsk National Airport within five days from the entry date.

These visa-free travels don’t apply to people arriving in Belarus by plane from Russia, as well as planning to fly to Russian airports (these flights are domestic and have no border controls). The decree comes into effect one month after it is published officially.