The Untapped Tourism Potential of North Macedonia Presented to the Spanish Market
Enabling stakeholders to attend international tourism fairs and B2B marketplaces is one of the key strategic priorities of the Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME within the Adventure Tourism sector. Through the support from IME’s Opportunity Fund, Balkan Prime Tours had the chance to jointly promote North Macedonia as a tourist destination for the Spanish market at FITUR Madrid 2022 in the form of an alliance, together with one tour operator – Touring Macedonia, as well as the Macedonian Airports TAV Macedonia.
“Our joint participation as an alliance at FITUR, supported by IME, was a unique opportunity to establish many new collaborations and renew previous ones. What is more, organizing the traditional Macedonian dinner in a typical Spanish restaurant, where together we hosted 20 tourism professionals, exceeded our expectations. It was a very important meeting between tour operators and TAV Skopje from N. Macedonia and the tour operators/ airlines from Spain, for negotiating a possible introduction of new direct flights from Spain to N. Macedonia. We also received many requests for organizing webinars and FAM trips.” – stated Ivana Pechaleva, Product Manager at Balkan Prime Tours.
Currently there are no direct air connections to Spain, which is a main obstacle in developing stable tourism between the countries. TAV Macedonia’s main objective was to approach the Spanish air carriers and present the potential of the Macedonian market with focus on establishing new air connections. TAV Macedonia’s Revenue and Marketing Manager, Vladimir Gramatikov, noted, “We will all work on increasing tourism between the countries, with a special focus on establishing new air connections between N. Macedonia and Spain as a key factor for development”.
B2B meetings are an important promotional and contact-making tool in the tourism industry, as they are the initial presentation for a new travel destination. The alliance had meetings with Spanish airlines and participated in several B2B meetings within the international fair.
As part of the alliance, Touring Macedonia`s main objective was to re-approach the Spanish-speaking market post-COVID 19, followed by two goals – “Our initial goal was to re-affirm past partnerships, whereas the second was to explore new B2B cooperation possibilities. These objectives were met by pre-fair evaluation and direct communication with the already existing partners, as well as with new potential identified during desktop research, during the fair days by hosting direct meetings and B2B presentation and post-fair, through negotiation. “– accentuated Rubin Nikoloski, Product Development Specialist at Touring Macedonia.
In this way, IME is supporting key Macedonian tour operators as a joint alliance to better position themselves in the Latin-speaking tourism markets in Western Europe and Latin America. By attending specialized international fairs and B2B meetings, they would potentially attract more Spanish tour operators that would offer N. Macedonia as a destination for their travelers. It is expected that interested operators from Spain will soon visit N. Macedonia to familiarize themselves with the offer here and sign contracts for future collaboration. Stay tuned for more updates!