VIDEO| Janevski: We need investments so that we do not lag behind the regional winter centers
Revenues from tourism are increasing and this year around 530 million euros are expected, which is 20 to 25 percent more than last year. However, as the director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism (APPT) Ljupco Janevski says, the development of tourism is not adequately monitored by state funding, both from the central budget and at the municipal level.
He says that for the winter season he has already concluded agreements with foreign tour operators for wintering in Mavrovo. Especially for other winter tourist facilities, emphasizes Janevski, there is a lack of facilities and infrastructural solutions.
- Investments in the destinations that are our winter centers, and which are mostly in national parks and protected areas, should be under a special regime, but also in continuity. Unfortunately, in the last decades, one, two or three, we have not invested in our winter centers, so they, despite the natural resources they have, lag behind regional and European winter centers - says Janevski.
He explains that the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism, in addition to promotion abroad, is also oriented towards domestic tourists.
- If we compare the results 2018 - 2023, they are continuously increasing, that is, more and more domestic tourists use our tourist facilities and destinations throughout the year. So our winter centers, I would say, are destinations for four seasons for me - says Janevski.
He explained that APPT is making strategic plans, and now they are being made for the end of 2024 and for 2025 because the reflection in tourism is one or two years in advance.
- If we compare the budget from 2018, we can say that the Agency for the Promotion and Support of Tourism has a continuous reduction of the budget, but its maximum realization. But with the reduction of the budget, our presence in regional or world markets is also reduced, reduction of digitalization and everything that has been cut in the last three to four years, and this will lead to a reduction of growth in the tourism industry. If we know that in 2011 the participation of the tourism sector in GDP was 0,4 percent, in 2018 – 1,9 percent, and in 2022 – 3,6 percent, then we can say that the focus of the Ministry of Finance should be directed more towards this sector - says Janevski.
He emphasizes that this is a large sector and by the number of employees, it employs about 35.000 employees. But the question that arises is how to continue to provide quality staff for this sector, given that our workers are leaving en masse, especially for seasonal work in seaside resorts.
- It is not a final solution if we import labor force. We need to answer a few questions. In what condition will she be, how qualified will she be, how will she be integrated and socialized in our society. In addition, even if we import it, we need to specify in which sectors, and what our strategy will be by focusing on secondary vocational schools, a process that is long-term. We need to convince young people more and more that they can create their own career development in the future with secondary vocational schools. A professional waiter in Macedonia can already get a good salary - says Janevski.
Regarding the upcoming summer season, Janevski complained that due to the modest budget that the Agency had, unfortunately, as a tourist destination, we were not present at any world-class fair event.