North Macedonia: Rural development

North Macedonia: Tourism as a driver of rural development

North Macedonia is an ideal destination for nature lovers. The small landlocked country at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula has mountains, lakes and a vast range of plant and animal species. The government is working to develop the tourism sector in order to achieve economic and social development. Some 600,000 tourists visited the country in 2017.

As part of its programme in support of economic diversification in rural areas of South-Eastern Europe (SEDRA), Germany supports North Macedonia, among other things, in developing rural tourism. The purpose of the cooperation programme is to create income and job opportunities for local people while simultaneously protecting local culture and the natural environment. To that end, mountain tourism and rural tourism are being developed in six cross-border regions.

The programme builds on existing tourist infrastructure such as the cross-border hiking trails "Peaks of the Balkans", "Balkan Hiking Adventure" and "High Scardus Trail", but new attractions for tourists are also being developed. This is strengthening local value chains. In order to improve the quality of tourism, regional standards for food and lodging, tour guides and risk and safety management are being introduced.

Video: A better outlook for young people from rural areas in the Balkans

Unemployment and the resulting exodus of people are severe problems in the rural areas of South-Eastern Europe. In order to give people a better outlook, the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality in Ohrid offers intensive courses for five occupations in the sector.

Project data

Envisaged duration: September 2018 to August 2021

Financial volume: 4 million euros