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Summer holidays: why travel to Belarus?

Not as many Belarusians as in previous years will cross the Belarusian-Ukrainian border for holidays in the neighboring country. Formerly, it was hard to reserve a seat on a train to the Crimea. Now trains don't travel to Simferopol and lovers of Crimea's south coast don't know what alternative to choose. Few will dare to go to Turkey after numerous explosions. Egypt has lost popularity in recent years too. Suffice it to mention the EgyptAir crash, most likely after a terrorist attack. So, maybe Belarusians should choose their own country for summer this time? After all, doctors advise to recover the body in the usual climate. Our correspondent Alexandra Kulakova continues the topic.

A temperature of +28 strongly invites all Belarusians to get out of the house and the water temperature is already 15-20 degrees - like on the Black Sea.

In order to lie in the sun and swim it is not necessary to buy a plane ticket or open a Schengen visa. Some 3.5 hours from Minsk you can see straw umbrellas, white sandy beach and pine air. The Braslav Lakes banks are very similar to Baltic Seashore.

Belarusians traditionally associate holidays with southern sun, palm trees, and "all inclusive" services. But our close neighbors, Russia, have learned to plan their holidays in advance and book their place for recreation in Belarus.

Alla Tereshkevich, Yunost sanatorium sales manager:
Since the beginning of this year, almost all places in our sanatoria are sold out.

80% of tourists come from Russia.  

Nikolai Kozlov and Zhanna Kozlova, vacationers (Moscow):
We were in Moscow region sanatoriums. Price is higher, which is sensitive for us, retirees. Here it is more luxurious.

Holidaymaker (Russia):
In my region it is still cold, about 2-5 degrees, while here it is already +28. We live in Anadyr, Chukotka. We like it in Belarus. Emotions overwhelm us.

The cost of holidays in Belarusian health resorts starts from $37 per day. This includes accommodation, meals, 5-6 medical procedures (if prescribed), two hours in the pool and one hour in the gym. But experts emphasize that Belarusian resorts are facing increasing competition on the part of Russian resorts. Therefore, Belarus tries to keep the brand.

In 2016, about 350,000 Belarusian children will improve health in children's centers. Educational programs there will be expanded. There will be camps for young ecologists, archaeologists and teachers. Round-the-clock campgrounds are also popular thanks to their low cost.

Dmitry is a Moscow-born traveler and blogger living in Belarus. Over the past seven years, he has traveled about 150,000 kilometers in Belarus. He is very surprised that Belarusians always strived to go abroad before studying their own country.

Dmitry Volotko, blogger, traveler:
Holidays in Belarus is quite an interesting and simple peculiarity. Near lakes with beaches, where you can relax with the kids, barbecue and swim, there is a huge number of old mansions and monuments, which are scattered around the country. You can combine business with pleasure, relaxation with cultural development, because the country is small and everything is within walking distance. 

More than 70% of export services of the Braslav region are tourism services. This figure is akin to that in Turkey and Greece. Of course, we do not our own Adriatic. But if you collect all the lakes, rivers and ponds in the Braslav region, you will get a big Belarusian sea.

Of course, the size of this Belarusian sea would be 250 square kilometers - almost the size of Minsk. But for a land-locked country lots of lakes scattered across its territory can be an excellent alternative.

Eduard Ananich, hotel manager, Braslav:
The brand Braslav Lakes itself asks for more places of tourism development. To attract investment we need to talk about our Braslav Lakes, about Naroch, and other brands. 

The Braslav district is looking for money to build a water park, a golf course, a park for camping and a yacht club. Investors are cautious, because the business has a profit just three months a year. To make projects live longer, one needs active life of the town even in the offseason. To do this, original folk dance festivals are organized for those who love event tourism. This weekend, the holiday called Brachislav's Sword took place here. It was visited by guests from six countries.

But the beach now remains the major holiday destination of all tourists on sunny days. Not only the Braslav recreation area has been prepared for summer. Traditionally, beaches of the southern regions of Belarus start to work in late May. Minsk has 25 zones for the bathing season. 

Just imagine: up to 300,000-400,000 people go to the reservoirs Krynica, Vyacha, and Drozdy for a weekend. This number is comparable to the number of visitors to the Black Sea! But open-air cafes, rentals and children's attractions will open only in the first half of June, once permanently good weather sets in.

Summer holidays: why travel to Belarus?