Belarus and Russia are preparing an intergovernmental agreement on tourism, said chairman of the permanent committee for health, physical culture, family and youth at the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Oleg Velichko addressing the deputies of the Union State Parliamentary Assembly who were participating in the seminar on the development of tourism in the Union State held in Krasnodar Territory on 27th May, 2009.
“Belarus and Russia have realized that tourist industry has a lot of potential,” said Oleg Velichko. “This industry can be of great importance for the Union State formation as well.”
Belarus has taken the lead over Russia in creating normative legal basis for tourist industry. This fact was stated by Chairman of the committee on social policy, science, culture and humanitarian issues of the Union State Parliamentary Assembly, deputy of the State Duma of Russia Viktor Vodolatski.
“Belarus has taken unprecedented steps to reduce tax rates for tourist industry. Russia should follow the same way as it is a key factor for an economic upswing,” said the Russian parliamentarian. Moreover, he believes that the Russian party should examine Belarusian normative legal basis for tourist industry and unify it.
Viktor Vodolatski noted that joint tourist programmes within the Union State are quite feasible. “This sphere can be a powerful incentive to Belarus’ and Russia’s economies,” he thinks. “By the end of the seminar the deputies should not only draw up recommendations but also make sure that people who have lost their jobs because of the crisis could get new ones in tourist industry”.
According to Viktor Vodolatski, developing inbound tourism Belarus and Russia could increase their GDP at least by 2%.
Belarusian sanatoria and health resorts as well as agro-mansions are becoming more and more popular with the Russians. “It is determined first of all by the territorial proximity, absence of visa barrier and reasonable prices,” noted Yuri Barzykin, Vice-President of the Russian Union of Tourist Industry. “Nothing bothers a Russian tourist in Belarus. Belarusians welcome them”. At the same time, Russia’s potential which is more than 100 million tourists is far from being exhausted. “Our Belarusian colleagues will always find something to derive,” added the Vice-President of the Russian Union of Tourist Industry.
Tourist direction Belarus-Russia is a very promising one, Yuri Barzykin is convinced. Its development will be furthered with common universal tourist standards within the Union State, creation of common tourist space. “It is simply impossible to develop it without governmental support,” stressed Yuri Barzykin.