Following the political crisis which gradually subsided in 2017, travel in Macedonia continued growing as inbound arrivals maintained moderate growth, mainly as a result of the permanent expansion in airlines and improved connectivity of Macedonia’s two major international airports in Skopje and Ohrid. However, growth was slightly slower relative to the review period, following a period of rapid expansion and growth in 2017 and 2018.
While travel and tourism used to be strictly within the domain of bricks and mortar outlets, the growth of information and communications technology, including rapid internet and mobile phone penetration, have led to a trend of increased use of these tools to arrange and book travel, ranging from flights and accommodation to various other services provided by tour operators and local entities. The rapid expansion of the services offered by online intermediaries has also boosted growth of online travel.
In Macedonia, low cost airlines, led by Wizz Air, accounts for the majority share of airlines. With such a high level of category domination of low cost airlines, Macedonia is becoming an ever popular destination for foreign tourists.
The wine culture in Macedonia and wine-making tradition dates back to Roman times. The country has long been known for its quality wines, but few have had the opportunity to experience the wines of Macedonia on-site, at the very wineries where they are produced.
Despite some public criticism and statements by some EU member states’ governments and travel service providers, the Government of Macedonia has explicitly announced that the tourism related subsidies provided by the national budget to select eligible operators will continue. Current expansion in airlines, particularly low cost carriers, as well as support to foreign travel agents selling packages to Macedonia are very effective in promoting Macedonia as a tourism destination and in helping its tourism industry to compete with the mightier tourism industries of neighbouring countries, such as Greece, Turkey, Croatia or Bulgaria.
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