Historical memories and recognition
Belarus’ national pavilion on show at tourist exhibition in Paris for first time
The Belarusian Embassy to France is currently preparing an exposition jointly with the Sports and Tourism Ministry, the National Tourism Agency and the administrations of Nesvizh Palace and Mir Castle. The organisers hope that the country’s national pavilion will help us find potential investors among French tourist operators, to support organised tours to Belarus. “Our country is eager to encourage this,” notes the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to France, H.E. Mr. Pavel Latushko.
France is a world tourism leader, welcoming over 84 million tourists to Paris alone in 2012. Mr. Latushko admits that it’s a situation Belarus ‘can only dream about’ but he believes that ‘we should dare to dream and work to make this dream come true’.
According to the Embassy, the number of tourists coming from France to Belarus rose by 25 percent last year. “However, they numbered only hundreds: a very small volume,” added the diplomat. He is confident that the Days of Belarusian Culture will contribute to promoting Belarus as a tourist destination. Organised by the Embassy and touring 25 cities across France, the event will feature the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus and will promote a wide range of tourist opportunities.
The French are likely to be interested in Belarusian sites relating to the great Napoleon but some sensitivity is required, since ‘Berezina’ still conjures negative memories for the French, being the site of a disastrous defeat during the great Napoleonic War. The Berezina River is located near Borisov and other battle sites associated with Napoleon and the War of 1812 are nearby. The Napoleonic Historical Society, which unites 50 cities and towns across Russia, Austria, France and elsewhere, aims to help encourage French tourists to Belarus.