To tourists’ benefit
[b]Many football fans will need to transit Belarus when travelling to Polish and Ukrainian stadiums hosting the European Championship in 2012[/b]Already, preparations for the event are in full swing, with the host cities being given an update. Belarus has every intention of making the most of the opportunity ahead.
Already, preparations for the event are in full swing, with the host cities being given an update. Belarus has every intention of making the most of the opportunity ahead.
Novaya Guta checkpoint on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border is known as a major transit point, welcoming travellers from the CIS and beyond; numbers swell particularly in summer and it’s sure to be a popular route for football fans. The region is actively preparing for the crowds expected. Although the 2012 European Championship is not being especially overseen by local roadside service development programmes, the local motorway has been improved greatly over the past 18 months. Restaurants, cafйs, camp sites and filling and car repair stations are being built.
The Head of Gomel District Executive Committee’s Economic Department, Alexey Mokhorev, gives me a short tour of the village of Kalinino, on the way from Gomel to Novaya Guta. “A cafй was opened here last year by a private investor,” he tells me. Another cafй is being built in the village, which boasts a convenient location along the Russian-Ukrainian road. Mr. Mokhorev explains that, two years ago, the district began developing its roadside services, with particular attention to international motorways. Initially, investment was lacking but, last year, interest picked up. Legislation has been simplified and privileges have been implemented. “We want Novaya Guta to have good quality, multi-purpose sites aimed at tourists, border residents and lorry drivers. Last year, we didn’t receive any proposals; however, this year, two investors have come forward to build recreational facilities on both sides of the road, 100m from the checkpoint,” says the official.
One of the investors is Dokhodny Dom, JSC (using Russian capital); early in the year, they studied a Gomel District Executive Committee investment project to set up a multi-purpose roadside site near Novaya Guta checkpoint, leading to their $2m investment. The site is currently overgrown with bushes but will soon be cleaned up. Design and estimate documents are being drawn up, with work to start in coming months. “We hope to launch the site in time for the 2012 European Championship,” they assert. Another project is being realised not far away, with a third located on the opposite side of the motorway. Transit tourists are being taken into consideration, being offered good quality facilities even after the sporting event finishes.
Checkpoint related plans for the future envisage the expansion of traffic lanes towards Novaya Guta, which is also to be revamped. Major reconstruction is planned — including the expansion of capacity and access for large-sized vehicles, new control methods and the provision of greater comfort. Design and estimate documentation is being developed; by the time of the championship, the checkpoint may even have web cameras, helping drivers track queues at Novaya Guta in real time, via the State Customs Committee website.
By Violetta Dralyuk