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Improving safety standards in ski centres

Today, the Increasing Market Employability Program (IME) hosted a work group session for representatives from three ski centers – Popova Shapka, Mavrovo and Nizho Pole, the rescue ski patrol from Krushevo, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of North Macedonia, the Agency for Promotion of Tourism, and GIZ Macedonia. The aim of the initial session was for all counterparts to come together and discuss the challenges and opportunities that ski centres face when it comes to implementation of safety standards, and employment and training of safety ski patrols, and to align training and operation standards of ski patrols according to international norms.

When it comes to adventure tourism, safety of the destinations offering mountain adventure sports is a prerequisite for attracting tourists. Additionally, the provisions of the local Law on Ski Slopes require that every ski resort has rescue ski patrols. Unfortunately, most of the ski resorts in North Macedonia do not fulfil this standard.

IME has partnered with the Macedonian Mountain Rescue Association Asklepij to improve safety standards in the three largest ski resorts in the country – Popova Shapka, Mavrovo and Pelister. As a business service organization, Asklepij is in the process of providing a four-month theoretical and practical training for ski patrol rescuers. As a result, patrols will be better prepared for rescue services in the ski resorts, where they can be engaged through an employment or seasonal work contracts.

Asklpeij is also working on increasing the awareness of the ski resort operators about the need to put safety measures into place thus making their product offer more appealing to local and international tourists. As only by making our ski centers safer, we also turn them into more attractive tourist destinations.