Smilavičy - the new point for Minsk region tourist routes

Nov 29, 2017

On November 27, a press tour dedicated to the development of the tourist potential of the town of Smilavičy on the basis of its unique cultural heritage was held.

Despite the large number of tourists who come to Smilavičy every year to learn more about the famous natives of the Minsk region - Chaim Soutine, Shraga Zarfin, Stanisław Moniuszko, Valenty Vankovich, Ibrahim Kanapacky - some time ago there was no tourist infrastructure. However, local authorities, non-profit organizations and residents have joined efforts to make their settlement friendlier for tourists.

Today, with the financial support of the European Union, two initiatives are being implemented in Smilavičy: "Development of the tourist potential of the town of Smilavičy" and "Music saloon of Stanislav Moniuszko". Initiatives are implemented in accordance with the area-based approach to development. According to this approach, cultural and historical heritage are perceived as one of the unique resources and drivers for local development. Attention paid to the sphere of culture within the framework of the ABD-approach is the investment, primarily, into the potential of interaction between local people, business and authorities, and not into infrastructure as such.

As of now, there are new tourist signs, a graffiti with a map of Smilavičy in the center of the town, and other facilities made so that every visitor could easily find the local museum of the artists of the Paris School Chaim Soutine and Shraga Zarfin, city memorials, music saloon of the famous composer Stanisław Moniuszko and the unique felting factory.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Belarus Andrea Wiktorin, the UNDP Resident Representative Sanaka Samarasinha, as well as the distinguished ambassadors of Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany joined the press tour.

Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Belarus, noted that she was happy to share the results of the European Union's projects in Belarus with the representatives of its member states, and added: "Culture plays a very important role in our lives: it creates jobs and your own identity, it is important for every nation, it attracts tourists and stimulates economic growth."

Sanaka Samarasinha, UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus, stressed that the next step to increase the tourist flow in Smilavičy is to unite the sights and spots of the Minsk and other regions into tourist routes. This requires cooperation between the districts and regions of the country.

“If you create a route – it will benefit all of you. As you connect the dots amongst yourselves, the international community is here to help you to connect the dots around the world,” said Sanaka Samarasinha.    

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The project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus" aims at combining efforts and establishing partnerships between authorities and civil society to develop regions according to their specific requirements. The project is funded by the European Union (budget € 5,919,975) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus. 

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