Are there conditions for development of the environmental tourism in Macedonia?
Our new question that can be found at the Forum on the "Civic World" web-sites throughout the summer (in July and August) is a problems that should be considered and dealt with in winter, in autumn, in spring and in summer. What do you think - are there conditions for development of the environmental tourism in Macedonia? This term in the world understands a specific kind of tourism, but in our country it is identified with the rural tourism, the monastery tours, etc. It is not our goal here to elaborate on what is what, but to encourage a discussion for the possibilities of all the above-mentioned kinds of tourism, that are closely related and very often come together. Are we able to attract domestic and foreign tourists with our natural and cultural beauties? How can we do that? Do we advertise ourselves enough? Do we have conditions (infrastructure, personnel) and do we know how to behave with the potential tourists?
We invite you to enter the discussion on this interesting subject at the Forum on our web-sites: www.graganskisvet.org.mk and www.civicworld.org.mk . Please write your full name and surname and state your organization, if member of any. In order to start a quality debate, we asked several people active in the civic sector in Macedonia this question. Here is what they said:
Aneta Ilievska, ERINA, Skopje:
What we are given by nature, and we are given a lot, we have not used enough, at least so far- neither in the field of tourism nor in other fields. If we have used some of our natural resources, it was only using and exploiting, and not using in a sustainable sense. It refers to the cultural heritage as well - we do not show care and respect for it, we do not know it and do not appreciate it. However, the attitude towards the natural and cultural heritage is not the only thing that matters in order to put them in the function of an environmental or cultural tourism. It is also important to invest something more, as in any other economic branch. It takes a lot more, such as: construction of approachable roads, electricity, sewerage systems and telephone connections, which is what most of our villages lack. And it is the villages, and not towns that are centres of the environmental, cultural, and of course, the rural tourism. And finally - it takes planning and strong and quality marketing strategy.
Mende Trajkovski, EA "Kajmakcalan", vill. Staravina:
I agree that it is possible to develop the environmental tourism in Macedonia because there are still regions and areas, that is places where nature remained untouched by the factory chimneys, waste waters, litter and traffic. Place where visitors can breathe fresh air, drink the mountain water and consume healthy food. For example, Mariovo, one of the ecologically purest regions in the Republic of Macedonia is making the first steps towards the development of the eco-tourism, by organizing the children camp "Itar Pejo".
From the last month's debate
Could we go on by ourselves?
Last month we asked the question: Could we go on by ourselves? That is, can we survive without the foreign donators' support, who have been our most important supporters for some time, and who already show a tendency of reduced work in our region? Did we acquire enough knowledge and skills in the past years to provide self-sustainability, financial assets and what is most important - to continue working as activists, on voluntary or creative basis?
Here are the opinions of several people working in the civic organizations in Macedonia:
Vladimir Karcicki, "Proaktiva", Skopje:
There are certain options. We can work with the business sector, the local government, and government institutions. Civic associations with less members, that work more operationally will handle better with the situation when there is not much chance to get support from the foreign donors. A natural, positive selection of the civic association in Macedonia will be done.
Mile Jovanovski, Ohrid:
Civic associations were not created by donors, so they will not extinguish if the foreign donors leave. Civic associating has a great tradition in Macedonia. The foreign donors helped a lot to build the civic sector, train the people who work in it, develop it, and they contribute to its recognition as an important factor in the society. We should be grateful to the foreign donors for that. The authorities, as opposed to them, have done nothing to support the civic sector in Macedonia. However, in future, they will have to do that because they will be forced by the European Union standards. Therefore, I think that in future, the civic associations in Macedonia could expect more and more support from the authorities, whether the authorities like that or not...