World Tourism Day 2023: Building a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient tourism sector

World Tourism Day has been held on 27 September each year since 1980. This World Tourism Day 2023, the UNWTO, under the theme “Tourism and Green Investment” highlights the need for more and better-targeted investments for the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN roadmap for a better world by 2030. Now is the time for new and innovative solutions, not just traditional investments that promote and underpin economic growth and productivity.

“UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt. The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector.”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

North Macedonia’s approach aligns perfectly with this vision, as evidenced by its recent achievements in tourism. As the world grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Macedonia’s tourism sector is not only rebounding but also showing remarkable resilience and growth. In response to global environmental concerns, the country has prioritized sustainable tourism practices.

Lake Ohrid region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, continues to be a magnet for nature enthusiasts. Initiatives such as eco-friendly accommodations, authentic rural experiences, thrilling water sports adventures and unforgettable diving, hiking, and sailing experiences, can all be found within IME-supported tourism alliance in Ohrid. This variety of experiences appeals to a wide demographic of tourists.

As tour operators confirm, this summer season revealed a remarkable surge in tourism, indicating almost a 40% growth. This impressive rebound, a testament to the sector’s resilience, is a pivotal step towards restoring North Macedonia’s position. According to the State Statistical Office, in the first half of the year, the number of foreign tourists in Ohrid also grew by 46.8% compared to the same period last year. The most numerous foreign tourists were from Turkey, Serbia, Poland, the Netherlands, England, Norway, and other countries.

A key factor in North Macedonia’s success lies in its commitment to inter-institutional collaboration. By fostering inclusivity of the private sector and prioritizing capacity-building, the country has mobilized all stakeholders. While 2019 was hailed as a stellar year for North Macedonian tourism, 2023 has eclipsed those achievements. The summer season 2023 will outshine previous years, with projections suggesting an astonishing 50% or higher income increase compared to 2022. This resurgence signifies a powerful recovery.

This remarkable recovery in the tourism sector is a testament to its adaptability, resilience, and commitment to sustainable growth. By prioritizing inclusivity, fostering collaboration, and embracing new challenges, the country has emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever before. As the sector continues to thrive, it paves the way for a future where tourism serves as a catalyst for positive transformation and economic development both locally and on a global scale.