Tourism focuses on export of services
By Andrey Avreev
The State Tourism Promotion Programme for 2011-2015, adopted by the Council of Ministers, also envisions the drastic reduction of budget financing (down to 18 percent of the total); the remaining sum is to come from non-budgetary sources. Additionally, the new programme excludes tourist and excursion services for which fees are paid (since this focused primarily on imports of tourist services). Instead, the updated law ‘On Tourism’, adopted in October 2010, now uses the indicators of export and import of tourist services to assess the success of Belarusian tourism.
The new programme aims to raise the export of tourist services 3.5-fold — to $510m — by 2015. The document envisages the construction and renovation of over 200 tourist facilities, including tourist complexes, hunting lodges and cultural sites. Special attention is being given to the hotel branch, especially in Minsk, which is to host the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship. In all, 28 sites have been allotted for investors to build hotel complexes, with 14 already gaining concrete projects. More sites may be allocated for hotel construction as 2014 approaches.
In addition, other state programmes are partially dedicated to the promotion of the tourist industry in Belarus; among them are the State Programme for Social and Economic Development and Complex Use of Natural Resources of Pripyat Polesie for 2010-2015 and the State Programme to Develop the Recreational Zone of the Lake Naroch Region for 2011-2015. Over 1,000 tourist facilities are to be constructed and renovated in Belarus by 2015.