New Tourism Campaign Promoting Minsk Set to Launch in Tbilisi

TBILISI – A new advertising campaign promoting the Belarusian capital Minsk as a tourism destination will be launched in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi later this month, Minsk’s information and tourism center said in a statement released on 29 March.

A series of prominent billboards will be installed in various parts of Tbilisi and feature Minsk’s main sites, including the city’s ice hockey arena, the remnants of its tsarist-era old city and Stalinist city gates.

Minsk has long flown under the radar as a tourist destination. Few historical monuments exist in the city, as the advancing Red Army destroyed 80 per cent of its antebellum architecture in the closing months of World War II.

The Soviet government later rebuilt the city as a showcase of Stalinist architecture, with wide boulevards and garishly ornate stone buildings.

Under Belarus’ five-term President Alexander Lukashenko, Minsk has been best known as a living museum of Soviet life, complete with a still-functioning KGB and dozens of monuments to Bolshevik luminaries Vladimir Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky.

Lukashenko recently said in a meeting with his Georgian counterpart, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, that both countries need to take bold steps towards strengthening economic and tourism ties.

According to statistics by Georgia’s National Tourism Administration, 2,037 Belarusian citizens visited Georgia during the first quarter of 2016.

Georgia is a top tourism choice for Belarusians, mainly due to the former’s popularity as a resort destination in the Soviet Union and visa-free access for citizens of Belarus.

Minsk city authorities have partnered with Georgia’s tourism agency to install tourism posters around the Belarusian capital, promoting Georgia as a holiday destination.

A similar advertising campaign will take place in Latvia’s capital, Riga, with posters of both Minsk and Tbilisi appearing on its streets.

By Nicholas Waller and Ana Akhalaia

01 April 2016 17:13