There is something about our country
Image of a country is formed not only by projects that the state implements, but also by creative ideas of ordinary citizens. What do foreigners think about us, how do they perceive our country? Who are we? What interesting projects could attract tourists and businessmen to Belarus? How can domestic brands gain international popularity? Participants of the Image of Belarus international forum will be thinking over these difficult questions for the third time already. This year’s event’s motto is ‘Time for Action’.
Unfortunately, Belarus still lacks systemic and comprehensive information resources in foreign languages. “If we want to communicate something about ourselves, we should first formulate it and put it down on paper. Without this classic product, communication would be very difficult,” says Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Savinykh. The next step will be to find our own methods and mechanisms of work that will help us convey messages to people abroad. Finally, we need specific actions, projects and events that will attract attention of target audiences. They can be held both inside and outside the country. For example, Belarus will take part in Expo 2015 universal exhibition in Milan, Italy. Over five million people visited our country’s exposition at the last universal exhibition in Shanghai. Every year Belarus participates in more than 2,000 international events including investment forums, Days of the Belarusian economy, various exhibitions, international conferences and etc.
In a broad sense, creating a country’s image is responsibility of its every resident. Four state institutions will orchestrate the process of Belarus’ image making: the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Sports and Tourism, Economy and Culture. Participation of the private sector and community associations may be very useful. To see how it works one could look at the process of creating a brand of Minsk coordinated by the British research center INSTID. Domestic commercial and non-commercial organizations and private individuals – business professionals and interested students -- also take part in the project.
Each Belarusian district, small town or village may get its own brand in the future. This is very useful from the viewpoint of attracting foreigners to the country.
At the moment, promotion of the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship as a tourist project is in the focus of attention. According to head of the Tourism Department of the Sports and Tourism Ministry Vadim Karmazin, the general tour operator of the event has been already selected. For each of the countries whose citizens might come to Belarus to participate in the sporting event there is an action plan.
Certainly, Belarusian students and ordinary people can come up with interesting ideas. A contest of creative projects is held as part of the Image of Belarus forum annually.
While we need more good ideas, the ones that had been already generated have real value. The best creative project award ceremony will be a culmination of the forum. According to the contest organizers, this year the jury is comprised of people who are able to appreciate and promote interesting ideas.