By Alexander Bystrokhodov
Fifteen Israeli companies took part in the event, with most representing legal and consulting services, IT technologies and medicine. The delegation was headed by Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. In fact, the spheres of interests of Israeli business are diverse, with entrepreneurs keen to supply their produce to the Belarusian market, while purchasing Belarusian food products for onward sale in Israel.
Minsk was also visited by representatives of companies offering unique experience in manufacturing high quality agricultural pruducts under unfavourable climatic conditions, with little use of external energy resources. Specialists from the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry are now keen to borrow these technologies.
Tourism collaboration was the most important topic discussed by the Belarusian and Israeli governments. “Belarus is known in Israel for its favourable climate, which promotes the development of agro-ecotourism. You have possibilities to ‘fight’ for the Israeli tourist market. Moreover, our state is interested in developing tourism co-operation with Belarus which boasts beautiful landscapes and great sporting facilities. However, the most wonderful thing you can offer Israeli tourists is nostalgia,” notes Mr. Misezhnikov.
During the negotiations, it became known that Belarus may become the third country within the post-Soviet space (after Russia and Ukraine) to offer a visa free regime with Israel. Tackling reasons for why the abolishment of visas for Belarusians has been delayed, Mr. Misezhnikov noted that time is required for making such decisions. He notes that the long term effects of visa abolition need to be assessed, alongside the simplification of the visa regime. The Israeli Tourism Minister stressed that he hopes that visas for Belarusian citizens visiting Israel will be abolished in the foreseeable future.