From 14 to 16 of July 2011 the first study visit of the touristic potentials, places and events in Macedonia was held. Part of the visit were 11 participants from the Local Action Groups (LAG-s) of Pec, Decani, Istog and Klina, representatives of the Regional Development Agency-West, media and other organizations related to tourism in Kosovo.
During the three-day visit, through the food, drinks, conversation with the people and natural beauties, the participants had an opportunity to experience part of Macedonia.
The visit started in Skopje. The participants had a chance to hear more about tourism in Macedonia from the presentation of the representative of the agency Go Macedonia. Then, by using the newly installed cablecar they visited Vodno (a mountain near Skopje). Part of the day they spent in Old Skopje Bazaar. The study visit also included participation on events. Hence the participants felt the atmosphere of the Beer Festival in Prilep which was held in that period. The Beer Festival already became traditional event that attracts huge number of visitors.
The next day was reserved for National Park Pelister and for the rural tourism. Participants heard about potentials and opportunities of the Park and how it is managed. The most interesting part for participants, according to them, was visiting of the villages Dihovo, Nizepole and Brajcino. “The rural tourism that we saw can be applied in Kosovo, we have lot of common things”, says Bajram Ceku, from the LAG in Decani. “Now the idea of rural tourism is more concrete in my head”, says Fadil Kabasa from the LAG in Istog, “this was very important for me. Along, I felt very good because of hospitality not only from our host from MEDF, but also from the people in the villages and, of course, because of the variety of delicious food that we could taste”, says Fadil.
Before traveling to Ohrid, participants had an opportunity to visit National Park Galicica and to hear about activities made for attracting more tourists – such as building of the bicycle and hiking trails, activities for preserving biodiversity etc.
The study visit finished with walking and sightseeing of Ohrid and Ohrid riviera.
Participant stated that the study visit met their expectations and achieved its aims. “Kosovo has enough potential and capacity”, says Redzep Redzepi from the LAG in Klina, “but, needs ideas and support”, he added. For Mehdi Mulaj from the LAG in Pec, this was opportunity to see how the private businesses can grow and how additional revenue can be made for the family budget, especially for the families from the rural areas.
Without exception, participants stated that the information, knowledge and contacts from the study visit will be used in their work. Some of participants with enthusiasm stated that they already started to inform people for opportunities, especially those that can be realized in Kosovo. They considered that other study visits in the region are welcomed preferably countries where traditions are similar and rural tourism and agro-tourism are more developed than in Kosovo.