Citizens of over 77 countries can now travel to Belarus without a visa for ten days. Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, signed an agreement for promoting international tourism in his country. The latest visa regime comes after Belarus offered visa-free travel to citizens of 80 countries if they enter and leave the country from its Minsk airport.
For those traveling by road, the citizens of these 80 countries had to enter using the Augustow Canal in Hrodna region to avail the visa-free service. They could either come by car, bus, or train. They would have to leave using the same road. Citizens of the 77 countries can’t travel to all areas of Belarus as of yet but can only visit visa-free in the Brest and Hrodna regions. The visa rule was effective January 1st, 2018 onward. However, for those who enter from the Minsk airport are free to travel anywhere in the country, but there is a restriction that they can only stay in Minsk for five days.
Even though it is very beautiful, Belarus gets hidden behind the big countries of Europe including France, Italy, and Switzerland. It is one of the least traveled European nations in the world. It is trying its best to increase international tourism, but the visa regime still has its limitations. Travelers need to show a copy of their confirmed tour or accommodation receipt at the borders. Even though it is inconvenient, taking the first step is always difficult. The travelers need to register with a local tourism office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, or the hotel they are staying at, within five days after entering Belarus.
Belarus Trial was a success
The 2017 experiment was a success as it increased annual tourist count to 80,000. It was a 12 percent increase. By 2019, Belarus plans to increase visa-free travel to 30 days.