Focusing on hospitality and cordiality in service sphere

Roadside service sites in Belarus are to render all-inclusive services, notes Trade Minister Valentin Chekanov at a joint meeting of the Transport and Communications, Trade, Sports and Tourism Ministries

By Olga Levkova

Roadside service sites enjoy great popularity abroad, offering shops and catering outlets, fuel, parking and repair services. According to Mr. Chekanov, Belarus should similarly develop sites to be all-inclusive. He stresses that drivers should be able to ‘have a meal, rest, take a shower, sleep or, even, repair their vehicle if necessary’. He adds, “Unfortunately, not enough such sites exist, especially near large cities.”

According to the Trade Ministry, 1,091 roadside service sites are currently operational, alongside almost 400 fuelling stations and 441 public catering outlets, with numbers growing all the time. However, the development of such sites is being hampered, including by some bureaucratic procedures.

According to the Trade Minister, roadside services should offer hospitality and a friendly attitude towards travellers; sadly, this can be lacking. The appearance of shops at such stations needs to be improved, with all staff offering a more attentive attitude towards customers. Souvenir sales could be developed too. “We need all these, since such sites give a general impression of the country,” stresses the Minister. Roadside services should equal those in Europe, so their quality must be kept updated constantly.

The Sports and Tourism Minister, Oleg Kachan, is particularly keen to see facilities built along roads leading to historical and cultural sites of international significance — such as the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Mir, Nesvizh and Polotsk. “We should examine in detail the issues of roadside services across the regions, adopting effective measures to satisfy the needs of local people and tourists — not forgetting those who’ll arrive for the 2014 IIHF Championships,” he underlines.

“Everyone should prepare for this: Republican state management bodies and administrative agencies. State-private partnership can be used to improve roadside services and the service sector in general,” Mr. Kachan adds. He wishes to plan a clear strategy of development for these two directions. “We need to decide on locations and corresponding infrastructure. Our decisions will guide the level of convenience and comfort for guests,” he emphasised to those attending the session.

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