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In eastern Poland, locals fear border zone will kill tourism

Adrianna Borowicz in eastern Poland
June 14, 2024

Following the Polish government's decision to step up protective measures along the Belarusian border, 27 towns and villages have been declared part of a buffer zone for the second time since 2021. Residents weren't consulted and fear the impact on tourism, a mainstay of the local economy.


On May 29, the Polish government announced it would be reinstating a buffer zone along the border with Belarus. This is the second time such a buffer zone, or no-go zone, has been put in place in the region. The first time was in 2021, when the previous government sought to stop the influx of migrants illegally entering the country from Belarus. Most of these migrants were not from Belarus itself, but had traveled there from North Africa and the Middle East in search of what they hoped would be an easier route into the European Union.

For some of the municipalities in the buffer zone, the decision isn't good news. Many of the villages and towns depend on income from tourism, and with the buffer zone in place, many tourists are reluctant to come.

DW traveled to eastern Poland and spoke with locals about the situation.