By Veniamin Mikheev
Belarus becoming more attractive to Polish tourists
Believes Renata Zakrzewska, the Head of Poland’s Suwalki Agriculture and Tourism Chamber Bureau. Ms. Zakrzewska emphasises, “Interest in visiting Belarus increases every year among the Poles, despite Belarus not being a Schengen member; many tourists want to see your country. I haven’t met a single Pole who was disappointed after visiting your country.” She believes that there are many places in Belarus of interest to Polish people, either because they are related to Polish kings — like Grodno, or to Polish writers, musicians and public figures — like Eliza Orzeszkowa, Czeslaw Niemen, and Tadeusz Kosciuszko. “For the Poles, this is sentimental tourism; many facts, details and names of common history connect our territories. We’ve been offering Polish tourists one-day and multi-day trips to Belarus,” explains Ms. Zakrzewska.
Bogdanova homestead of the Dribin District was included in a tourist route of the Mogilev Region
One-day trips to Belarus are very popular among Polish touristsm as are multi-day group visits. Polish doctors recently enjoyed a six-day trip through the Grodno-Bogatyrevichi-Pripyatsky National Park. Ms. Zakrzewska underlines that the group wish to return, so another holiday is being planned for them, to include Lida, Novogrudok, Mir, Nesvizh, Minsk and the Braslav Lakes. Over seven days, they’ll travel at least 1,000km across Belarus, taking part in an eventful and interesting programme.
“Such tours are sure to prove popular with Polish tourists. Of course, it’s impossible to significantly increase the number of Polish tourists to Belarus immediately but, with systematic effort, volumes will grow,” notes Ms. Zakrzewska. She sees great potential in cross-border river cruises between Poland, Belarus and Lithuania and confirms Polish interest in opening a new border checkpoint on the Belarusian-Polish border, at Sofievo-Lipshchany.
The Suwalki District of Poland recently hosted a joint media tour for Polish and Belarusian journalists, focusing on cross-border tourism. The joint Belarusian-Polish project — A Trip to an Ethnic Tale — is being implemented as part of the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2007-2013 cross-border co-operation programme. Meanwhile, Grodno and Suwalki are planning new cycle and hiking routes, continuing the joint Communication Without Borders project.