Belarus to relax visa regime

Alexander Lukashenka signed the corresponding decree. The Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation confirmed that official participants of the Ice Hockey World Championship and tourists from abroad would be able to visit Belarus in the period of April, 25 to May, 31, 2014 without obtaining a visa. The former should acknowledge accreditation, the latter will have to prodice an original or electronic ticket.

The organisers place their reliance in an inrush of tourists. 50 000 visitors are expected to come to the Championship. Belarus counts on earning a total of € 53,3 mln: € 10,5 mln are supposed to enter from ticket selling, tourists are believed to provide the € 42 mln.

The visa question still lies within the jurisdiction of several institutions. Head of Tourism Department Vadzim Karmazin understands full well that the visa regime makes Belarus less attractive for tourists in comparison to the Baltic countries and Poland. For this reason the Ministry of Sports and Tourism suggests tentative visa-free regime with one of the neighbouring countries, admittedly Poland, this year. According to the project, some other EU countries are supposed to join in 2013.

The lifting of the normal visa regime is heavily disputed by the KGB and the State Border Committee. The stand of force structures is based on the potential risks on the state border.

Focusing on economic benefits the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance do not support the relaxation of visa restrictions. On average Belarus makes $ 1,2 mln profit on visa fees annually.

But it is undisputably Alexander Lukashenka who will take a decision on the subject.


See also