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Search for: [Abstract = "Belarus was long a country to which visits by foreign tourists were highly restricted. However,recent years have brought a marked improvement in conditions and possibilities regarding crossings of the border and onward travel into the country. Of key significance to the introduction of the new facilitations are changes of the border regime and an easing of the regulations concerning arrivals that have been achieved by action at central level. Since 2015 in particular, it has been possible to note an unprecedented new scale and rate of change where the border regime is concerned. By virtue of Decisions of the President of the Republic of Belarus, a number of signed Decrees have appeared to bring zones of visa\-free travel into existence, with a view to it being easier for visitors to cross over the state border into the country. Presidential Decrees have in fact both established visa\-free zones and brought in other regulations making it easier for foreigners to visit. While on the one hand these changes are analogous to those found in other parts of the world at various different times, they on the other hand have certain unique features, especially given the specific nature of Belarus’s isolation in the international arena over more recent decades. Thus, the last few years have seen three types of visa\-free zone system come into existence, i.e.\: • border zones – on the Poland\-Belarus border, and partly also that between Belarus and Lithuania\; • zones at airports – especially the capital\-city \(national\) airport known as Minsk\-2, but also the airports \(and the railway stations\) in Brest and Hrodna\; • visa\-free regimes associated with special occasions, notably sporting events. In terms of main reasons for establishment, the zones that have appeared are\: • along the western border \(with a view to tourism developing in the Brest and Hrodna regions\)\; • by airports \(for the sake of the development of the airports as such, but also the adjacent industrial and capital\-city areas, as well as the furthering of regional tourism\)\; • linked closely with sporting events \(to help ensure that the image of the country as a whole is promoted\). The entry into force of the Decrees in question, and the subsequent taking effect of visa\-free regimes at all border crossings, has done much to increase the intensity of the traffic involving Polish people. Since 2015, there has been a steady rise in both absolute numbers of Poles travelling into Belarus, and the share of all visits they account for. This can be closely associated with the commencement of the visa\-free regimes. Consecutive years after the years of introduction did not necessarily bring major further increases in numbers travelling\; or even witnessed certain decreases. There is also a marked seasonality to numbers of Poles travelling to Belarus, with the peak obviously tending to coincide with the summer months."]

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