MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus has upheld the ratification of the amendment to the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on 12 December, BelTA has learnt.
The amendments will be made to Article 38 of the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization as of 27 September 1970. The decision was made at the 17th UNWTO General Assembly held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in November 2007.
The amendment establishes that the Chinese language will become one of the official languages of the World Tourism Organization along with English, Arabic, Spanish, Russian and French.
Sports and Tourism Minister of Belarus Alexander Shamko told the MPs that Belarus’ participation in the World Tourism Organization demonstrates the country’s openness to the global community. The membership in this organization will help promote tourism and take advantage of information opportunities of this organization.
The minister informed that about 150,000 agro-tourists have already visited Belarus. “But we go beyond agro-tourism. There are other types of tourism,” Alexander Shamko said. He added that Belarus’ participation in the UNWTO will be highly useful for the country. Talking about the contribution of tourism to the economy, the minister noted that inbound tourism statistics does not take into consideration all people who come to Belarus from the territory of Russia. He added that one tourist spends about $100 in Belarus. He agreed with the MPs that this statistics is not precise, but the Sports and Tourism Ministry tries to avoid overestimating tourists’ contribution to the country’s economy.
On 12 December the House of Representatives adopted a bill on introducing amendments and addenda to the law on international agreements of Belarus (in the first reading), a bill on ratification of the agreement between the government of Belarus and the government of the Sultanate of Oman on mutual abolition of visas for holders of diplomatic, special and service passports, a bill on ratification of protocol on introducing amendments to the agreement on simultaneous work of electric power grids of the CIS member states as of 25 November 1998. The MPs also passed the bill to rescind some laws and certain provisions of laws of Belarus in the second reading.