A mechanism to protect consumers of tourism services is being developed in Belarus, BelTA learned from Belarusian Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi before the third session of the Belarusian-Ukrainian working group on cooperation in tourism on 10 October.
The Sports and Tourism Ministry was the agency to suggest that laws should be developed to protect consumers of tourism services. "The process has already begun. We are going to have to work together with members of the parliament, the tourist community next year to decide what exactly the mechanism will be," said the official. In his words, recent bankruptcies of travel agencies have demonstrated the lack of protection afforded to regular tourists. The experience of other countries, including Ukraine, will be taken into account in the course of the work.
On the whole, Mikhail Portnoi noted that Ukraine is a strategic partner for Belarus in the sphere of tourism. Tourist traffic has increased in both directions this year. Over 2.5 million Belarusians visited Ukraine. In turn, Belarus welcomed about 1.5 million Ukrainians. Belarusian citizens now frequent sea and mountain resorts in Ukraine. Ukrainians are attracted to cultural and education tourism opportunities in Belarus as well as recreation and hunting tourism. Sport tourism grows larger, too. "Exceptional infrastructure has been created in our country. This year alone we intend to welcome over 80 world-level and European-level sport events. We are going to host the 2nd European Games next year. Such events definitely attract tourists," believes Mikhail Portnoi.
Ukrainian Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Mikhail Titarchuk stated that citizens of the two countries grow increasingly interested in transboundary tourism routes, too. In his opinion, Belarus and Ukraine should share their experience relating to various branches of tourism. The two countries should organize correct business cooperation schemes and improve bilateral cooperation in order to increase the flow of tourists going to both countries. "Tourism is an important component of economic development. Statistics says that tourism generates 10% of the world's GDP," he added.
Government officials, representatives of the private sector and public organizations took part in discussing the agenda of the session of the Belarusian-Ukrainian working group on cooperation in tourism. The sides discussed the operation of transboundary combined routes, the promotion of Chernobyl-related tourism routes, and the creation of joint tourism advertisements. The sides also shared their experience in such areas as the development of the tourism infrastructure, laws on tourism, the creation of brands for specific territories, and other matters.