Belarusian farmsteads have welcomed tourists from 74 countries, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Ministry.
Agro-ecotourism is a relatively new tourism option for Belarus. Today there are more than 2,000 farmsteads situated in picturesque locations across the country. The farmsteads welcomed over 300,000 tourists last year, which was 2.5% more than in 2015. All in all, the Belarusian agro-ecotourism facilities provided Br14.6 million worth of services in 2016, up by 22.5% from 2015. Belarusians accounted for 90% of those who spent time at the country's farmsteads that also welcomed 30,500 foreign tourists from 74 countries, including 24,000 Russians.
Belarus was ranked number one tourist destination in the Agro Tourism nomination of the National Geographic Traveler Awards 2016.
There are 26 nature reserve areas in Belarus. Their development attracts investments and contributes to the improvement of the quality of life in rural communities. The system of nature reserves includes 1,287 destinations with a total area of 1.8 million hectares, or 8.7% of the country. The most popular tourism options available include tours of the wetlands, wildlife photography, animal tracking, ornithology tours, diving, canoe trips, and others.
The country's rich flora and fauna create favorable conditions for the development of hunting tourism. It is permitted to hunt 50 species of wild animals in Belarus, including 21 mammals and 29 birds. There are 196 hunting lodges designed for tourists across the country.
Culinary tourism is also gaining popularity in Belarus. All in all, there are 235 public catering outlets specializing in dishes of the Belarusian cuisine, 47 of them are located in Minsk. The country's Vitebsk Oblast is part of the European Network of Regional Culinary Heritage.
In 2016, Belarus was named the most popular culinary tourism destination for Russians by the online hotel booking service RoomGuru.ru.