Macedonias large abundance of natural andcultural attractions make it suitable fortourism. About 700,000 tourists annually. Macedonia experiences a constant increaseof visitors. In the first four months of 2012,the number of tourists in Macedonia was130,083, an increase of 4.6% from theprevious year.
Macedonia treasures a large number ofcultural and historical monuments:churches, monasteries, icons,archaeological sites, mosques, old books,and other artefacts. National folklore and traditional arts andcrafts are cherished. The finelyembroidered national costumes, thenumerous old crafts shops have played animportant part in preserving the tradition. Many internationally recognized eventsare held in Macedonia: Ohrid SummerFestival, Struga Poetry Evenings, OhridBalkan Festival, Galicnik Wedding.
The project MEDMACEDONIA is designed toestablish the reliable source of informationfor foreign citizens that are considering atravel to Republic of Macedonia for medicalor wellness treatments. The project is part of the National strategyfor medical tourism, and is supported by theNational Agency for Promotion and Supportof Tourism.
The territory of Macedonia is home toapproximately 1,600 villages and ruralareas that are home to one third of thecountrys population. The villages are big and small, in themountains and in the valleys, rich and poor,modern and traditional, near and far, buttheir inhabitants are always hospitable andready for generous sharing. Most of the villagers secure their livelihoodby working in the fields, keeping animals andmaintaining traditional crafts. They continueto produce organic vegetables and fruits,meat and dairy products.
Macedonian Government has formedthe Agency for Tourism Support andPromotion on national level in 2008, in orderto promote tourism resources and capacitieson international level. In order to attract tourists in Macedonia as aunique tourist destination, the multiple stagecampaign Macedonia – Timeless, sponsoredby the Macedonian Government, wasinitiated in 2008, its videos are beingbroadcasted on worldly renowned media suchas CNN.
Two main web portals are in function as apart of the internet promotion of touristcapacities and beauties of Macedonia, aswell as the tourist offer for various typesof tourism, as well as many other web-pages and forums: www.exploringmacedonia.com www.macedonia-timeless.com
Local self – government is intensivelyincluded in tourism promotion andpresentation activities since 2007. Many municipalities have alreadyprepared Development Strategies, aspecific part of which is AlternativeTourism Development. The National Agency for ForeignInvestments, whose goal is to promoteand facilitate investments in Macedonia,has been formed in order to moreintensively attract foreign investments.
The key factor for investors in MacedonianTourism is also the Strategic plan of theMinistry of Economics 2009 – 2011,according to which the promotion andstimulation of Tourism via theIPA and CIP programs is one of thestrategic objectives of the Ministry. Via the IPARD program the EU hassupplied finances within the Pre-Accession Assistance for Rural TourismDevelopment in Macedonia.
Women have the key role in tourismpromotion in Macedonia, especially withregards to rural tourism. Traditional Macedonian family places thewoman as the main cook in the house, aswell as the main bearer of traditional andfolklore values. This concept of female-orientedpromotion of tourism has not beenexploited enough in Macedonia.
Gender Equalty in Macedonia The minimum threshold of 30% women’spolitical representation at all levels andsectors is the accepted internationalstandard. Unfortunately, the statistics showthat this is still far from being fully realised. This is due to several reasons:- Strong patriarchal political culture- Poor or non-existing national mechanisms forpromoting and securing gender equality- Unfavourable electoral systems- Male dominated political elites
The gender gap in participation in thelabor market grows in continuity as theage progresses. There is significantdifference between male and femaleparticipation in the peak years forproductivity (25-54 years), but is hugeamong the age group 55-64. This datareinforces the concern that employersprefer younger employees whichdiscourage older women to remain activeand participate in the labor market.
A widely acknowledged fact is thatwomen possess only an estimated 1-2 percent of all titled landworldwide and are very often deniedthe right to inherit property thatlegitimately belongs to them. Thesituation in Macedonia is notdifferent.
In the rural areas there is a deeply rootedpatrimonial system of values in which therole of men is undisputed. Besidesdominating the decision-making processwithin the family, men are owners of theland, house and mechanization. At thesame time, women indirectly support andperpetuate the patrimonial order, as theydo not seem very eager to improve theireconomic position.