IBNA Special Report
Skopje, August 18, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
So far, FYROM has had a negative trend as far as tourism is concerned. The government held an active campaign abroad in order to attract foreign tourists.
Millions of Euros have been spent on advertising and propaganda to promote the lakes of Ohrid, Prespa and Dorjan, but also the capacities of mountain tourism. Nevertheless, the trends were negative.
This was the concern expressed by the Chamber of Tourism in FYROM, which has issued negative data. Lela Krstevska, head of this chamber declared today that more than half of hospitality capacities and other tourist resorts have remained unexploited during the tourist season. According to her, the main reason for this situation relates to security, which deters tourists from visiting the country.
“Our country is one of the cheapest ones in terms of tourism and we have rich tourist resorts. But, what’s worrying is the issue of security, which represents a very important indicator for the development of tourism”, says Krstevska, recalling the latest cross ethnic incidents and other incidents that have caused a negative image for the country.
According to her, local authorities must take measures in order to improve the situation and to offer an attractive climate for foreigners, as this leads to considerable losses for tourism and the country’s tourist potentials.
Naum Martinovski, owner of a tourist agency in Ohrid says that he’s worried about the fall of the number of tourists, which according to him, keep tourism in FYROM alive.
“The fall in the number of tourists from FYROM relates to the fall of the living standards. The small number of tourists from the country also has to do with the growth of competition as far as tourist resorts in the Balkan is concerned. In the recent years, the Albanian coast has become more attractive. While before, it was a taboo for Macedonians to go there, now citizens prefer to go and spend their weekend on the coast of Albania than the lake of Ohrid or Prespa”, says Martinovski.
Tourists from Turkey and Holland often visit the tourist resorts of the country, such as the lakes of Ohrid, Struga, Prespa, Dojran and also the mountain tourist resort of Mavrova. The capital, Skopje is also a visited destination from foreign tourists.
In the recent months, the government has promoted the country in several world medias. Prime minister of the country, Nikola Gruevski appears in a clip where he addresses to tourists who have visited FYROM in order to ask them to promote the natural beauties of the country.
The idea of the project called “Share Macedonia” is for all tourists that have photos or videos from the nature, monuments and tourist attractions of FYROM, to share them with the entire world.
The project sharemacedonia.com is the new webpage of the Agency for the Promotion and Support of Tourism, which invites all users of social networks to publish the photos, videos and their postings dedicated to FYROM.
This year, the number of tourists is expected to go over 450 thousand. The highest number of tourists come from Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Holland and Bulgaria, while China and North America are new target groups.
This information was provided by the Government Agency for the Promotion and Support of Tourism. Its director, Kristian Dzambazovski said that in spite of the negative trends, the number of tourists has increased by 14% during the entire summer season. “We’re seeing positive trends and we have been engaged in different forms to attract foreign tourists. We have a growth of the number of tourists compared to 2013”, said Dzambazovski.
Based on the information of this government agency, the country benefits over 200 million Euros on an annual basis. /ibna/