Author: Iryna Auchynnikava, Associate Advisor, REALTOR®
At first glance, Belarus may not sound like the most exciting of destinations for tourism and investing, but if you look closely you may change your mind.
Belarus consists of natural diversity, beauty, as well as a unique historical and cultural heritage. The treasury of world culture includes the Belovezhskaya Puscha, the Mir Castle, the Nesvizh Palace, Park Complex and the Struve Geodetic Arc. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) experts are closely analyzing 20 objects, which may soon be included in the World Heritage List, located in the territory of Belarus.
Unique Stays for Tourists
Belarus pays special attention to agrotourism and ecotourism. More than 2,000 farmsteads are available for tourists, and they are absolutely unique. In some, travelers will be offered a house with a fireplace, billiards, and a sauna; in others, a small room in a house and a basin with well water outside. But some things remain unvarying: splendid food and a lot of entertainment.
Hundreds of Health Resorts
Recuperation tourism is gaining popularity, as well. There are over 475 health resorts in Belarus. All recuperation facilities are located in zones with a special microclimate; many have their own mineral springs and mud baths. Foreigners are lured by the professionalism of Belarusian doctors, cutting-edge medical equipment, and high-quality medical services.
Belarusian government gives great support for tourism and investors who are interested in developing this industry by providing beneficial business conditions for development. Moreover, to bring benefits to the tourism sector, the Belarusian government has abolished travel visas for tourists from over 80 countries, including the USA. Foreigners will be able to spend up to five days in Belarus without any visa and registration formalities. The duration of visa-free stay in Belarus is under consideration to be extended up to 10 days in 2018.
One of Eastern Europe’s Most Favorable FDI Destinations
Not only is the tourism sector greatly expanding, Belarus is becoming a promising investment platform for establishing, building and expanding international business today. Reputable international studies, including World Bank’s “Doing Business” consistently confirms Belarus’ status as one of the most favorable foreign direct investment destinations in Eastern Europe, and it is easy to see why.
Location, Location, LOCATION!
Just 12 hours by flight from Chicago, Belarus offers a strategically advantageous location, direct access to a 180 million person market of the EEU countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) with a common custom territory, and free movement of goods, services and workforce. Moreover, Belarus is offering competitive investment and taxation conditions, which currently includes 0% profit tax for 15 years and 0% VAT if an investor opens a business in the Hi-Tech Park, within six free economic areas (0% profit tax for 5 years and 10% VAT), Industrial Park “Great Stone” (0% profit tax for 10 years), or in the territory of small and medium towns of Belarus (0% profit tax for 7 years and 10% VAT for 5 years).
And What About Bitcoin?
In the light of Bitcoin popularity, it must be mentioned that the Belarus President recently signed a digital economic development decree which legalizes cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Also, all crypto transactions and related income, including from mining, will be tax-free for the next five years.
The Belarusian market has never been closer, and setting up businesses in Belarus has never been easier. So, the next time you plan your vacation, remember about this fabulous rarely explored corner of Eastern Europe. Who knows – maybe your vacation could turn into a great investment endeavor!