The time of championship approaches very rapidly

There is little time left until the Ice Hockey World Championship in May
By Yuri Beketov

At the beginning of the month, the strongest national teams of the world will arrive in Minsk to fight for the name of champions before thousands of fans from dozens of countries. Preparation for the event, which promises to be significant for the whole country, has lasted for more than one year. Its results were discussed recently at a session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, where intermediate results were discussed, and ways of solving the remaining issues were determined.

Ticket is also visa
A trip to the theatre begins with visit to the cloakroom, while tourists visiting a country must deal with the checkpoints at the border. Are they ready for the influx of visitors? Will there be any mistakes during the ‘visa-free’ entrance system that will operate from April 25th till May 31st?

The Press Secretary of the State Border Committee, Alexander Tishchenko, is sure that everything will run smoothly, “It is clear that the theme of entrance causes certain questions for foreign fans. But in general everything is clear. The Ice Hockey ticket is good enough for entrance. Each ticket has a unique digital code. It will be checked at border and, if everything is all right, there will not be any problems with admission. There should not be any misunderstanding. Firstly, many employees of the State Border Committee know English, and secondly, if there is a need, we have volunteers who will also help. They will work in all the checkpoints, including the airport.”

Airport overhaul
Let’s be honest, for years Minsk National Airport has lagged behind the times. However, now it has changed considerably. Reconstruction, which began last year, is focused on area expansion, change of appearance and the interior of the operating terminal and the creation of a barrier-free environment. Replacement heating systems, air-conditioning and illumination is also being carried out and escalators and lifts are being installed.

According to the Director of Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Vladimir Kostin, after refurbishment, the airport will meet all latest international standards, “The World Championship is one of the most important events for our country this year.

 Therefore, of course, in respect of preparation, we make a lot, including at the airport. The schedule for reconstruction is made, and Ministers of Transport and Communications, Architecture and Construction and the Government constantly supervise the progress of work. Today more than half of all the work which should be done in the air terminal building has already been finished, and in March it is planned to have finish everything in full. After that, the acceptance rate of the airport will increase from 3-3.5 million passengers a year to 5.8 million. When we see that the volume of passenger traffic approaches maximum, we will consider the construction of another terminal. Also, at the end of this year, or at the beginning of the next year, the construction of a second runway will begin.”

Hospitality rules
According to the Directorate for the 2014 IIHF World Championship, the tickets for matches of the tournament are bought, not only by residents of traditional hockey countries, but also by fans in Luxembourg, Ireland, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and many more. In total, there are more than 40 countries on the list. The fans arriving here will not only want to watch hockey, but to also have a rest, and there will be a lot of possibilities for that. In addition to those which exist now, new such possibilities will also appear during the tournament. The Deputy Head of the Department of Sports and Tourism of Minsk City Executive Committee, Svetlana Demeshko, says that the question is well thought-out, “Fan-zones will operate near the Minsk-Arena and the Chizhovka-Arena from May 9th-25th. Hospitality zones will be located in the Student Village, on Dzerzhinsky Avenue, near the Sports Palace on Pobediteley Avenue and near the Ice Palace on Pritytsky Street. There will be ‘towns of craftsmanship’, mass cultural events, as well as souvenirs, beer, ice-cream and confectionery on sale and currency exchange points are planned to be set up. We will make sure that visitors to the city will feel that they’ve had both a great tournament and a great holiday.”
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