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Breakdown of the operation of APST in the first half of the year

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The results of past work made Macedonia’s tourism product to become competitive on the world market, and thus to increase the tourist operations in the country. The Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism (APST) of the Republic of Macedonia, guided by its commitment to continuous development, improvement and promotion of tourism, taking into account the advantages and economic benefits from the development of this industry, invests and works on the implementation of programme activities to enable better and more efficient tourism offer. The operation of the Agency is based on the principles of: expertise, professionalism, transparency, sustainability and responsibility. In that context, APST works responsibly and is dedicated to opening new opportunities for increasing the number of tourists through appropriate positioning of Macedonia on the global market and introducing the world public with the natural and historical, as well as with any other kind of touristic content.

In 2017 a continuous growth in the number of foreign tourists, who almost reached 1 million tourists with realized 2.800.000 overnight stays was registered. This positive trend continued in 2018, and the first 6 months registered an increase of 16.4% in the number of tourists compared to the same period in 2017. The percentage of increase is the same when it comes to overnights, that is, in the first six months of this year there was an increase by 16%.

The increase in the number of tourists and overnight stays reflected in the increase in foreign exchange inflows from the tourism item. The National Bank for the first quarter of 2018 registered an increase of the foreign exchange inflow from tourism by 26.5%, compared to the same period last year.

The expectations of APST for 2018 are that the number of tourists will reach 1.2 million tourists, 3.2 million overnight stays and foreign exchange earnings to 24, 000,000,000 denars.

Over a period of 6 months, APST conducted 9 international fairs. The purpose of this type of presentation is to support the private sector by establishing the initial contact on our part with foreign tour operators, which then respond to our invitation and visit Macedonia where they attend B2B meetings. Additionally, during these fairs 10 informative trips with tour operators from 10 different countries around the world were arranged. Within these trips, 40 tour operators and 10 media came to Macedonia and produced 18 reports from the visit.

APST is also active on social media. Social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, You Tube) are a powerful tool for presentation of Macedonian tourism facilities and promotion of the institution and its work. During this period, APST actively works to change the content and improve the websites: www.macedonia-timeless.com and www.tourismmacedonia.gov.mk.

According to the annual programme for 2018, APST is in the process of realization of a media campaign in 12 countries: Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Estonia, Israel and Turkey. The results at which we aim encompass maintaining and increasing the number of tourists from these tourist markets. After the conducted analysis and market research, media activities and promoting tourism potentials of Macedonia is implemented through the following promotional channels:

– 6 printed media;

– 25 electronic media;

– billboard campaign in 3 countries;

– television articles, reports, videos and interviews.

APST also launched a new edition of guides that will contribute for better promotion of tourism potentials of Macedonia in a circulation of 36,000 copies. The guides cover regions, monasteries, recognizable products, sites, facilities and events in Macedonia and Ottoman monuments in the country. The guides are initially written in Macedonian language and translated into English, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Serbian and Turkish language.

APST also developed a Macedonian travel passport, which is in the form of a booklet, complemented by a mobile application, where you can find useful information about Macedonia’s tourist potentials.

Among the promotional materials is also the brochure about food and wine in Macedonia, that is the “Story telling” brochure. It aims at creating a gastronomic guide that will present Macedonia’s cuisine through experiences, local specialties and promotion of traditional gastronomy recipes from Macedonia. In the phase of preparation is the issue of a general brochure on tourism in the Republic of Macedonia – “Macedonia, undiscovered tourist treasure.”

APST this year will also continue the implementation of the project – Development of athletic hiking and its placement into the function of tourism. For the development of this recreational sports tourism arrangement of new and rehabilitation of existing training sites for rock climbing, and placing about 120 direction plates has been planned.

APST supported the arrangement of the paragliding take off site in Krusevo – placement of artificial grass on the take off site to increase the safety of paragliderists and meeting the standards for international competitions, so as to promote the Republic of Macedonia as a destination for paragliding.

APST has also been focused on the implementation of the project on “Development of mountaineering and its putting into the function of tourism” by arranging the sites for alpine climbing (Matka, Demir Kapija, Lesnica and Ostra Karpa). The aim is to improve the safety and attractiveness of these sites and attract more tourists from one of the fastest growing markets.

Regarding the area of cultural tourism and outdoor activities, the project “Mapping the Via Egnatia Road” is in its final stage. The old Roman road was mapped by 13 info boards and 5 direction plates.

The Agency this year has also continued to provide financial support to 21 events with a budget of 1.000.000 denars. The aim is that these events would attract more guests through increased professionalism in organizing the events.

The benefits of tourism development are a motivation for APST, in collaboration with the tourism industry, to persists by the energy, networking and above all creativity in its work of creating conditions for employment of young people and creating opportunities for development of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.