Rural tourism gets more popular in Belarus amidst COVID-19

During the coronavirus pandemic Belarusians preferred local farmsteads over foreign countries, Irina Voronovich, Director of the Tourism Department at the Sport and Tourism Ministry, told a press conference in Minsk on 3 November, BelTA has learned.

“No doubt, domestic tourism has changed. People prefer to travel in small groups, individually, with a friend or a family. They stay in farmsteads that have limited accommodation,” Irina Voronovich said.

“Farmsteads were never empty. They were busy all the time, and many people simply could not get there,” the director of the Tourism Department informed.

According to her, this year Belarusians favored natural reserves and other similar places as they wanted to avoid being indoors with many other people.

Travel restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic were another reason why people opted for domestic trips. “Those who have traveled abroad before wanted to keep traveling. Those who wanted and planned [a trip in Belarus - BelTA’s note] got such an opportunity,” said the department director.

Now the state tourism program for 2021-2025 is being drafted. According to Irina Voronovich, the document will address the issues that hinder domestic tourism growth, for example, inadequate infrastructure in some places.

Deputy Director - Head of the Marketing Department of the National Tourism Agency Yelena Likhimovich noted that domestic travelers can go on unusual excursions that are available only in Belarus. For example, in Yelnya, you can walk through the swamps in bogshoes. There are night tours, rooftop tours, narrow gauge trips. Kayak tours have become very popular, too.