TOURISM AND OTHER OFFERINGS
To give the participants (at least those not directly involved in the competitions and other formal meetings) the chance to discover the treasures of Ohrid and Skopje, the organisers planned an array of visits as well as workshops.
An obvious thing to do was to visit the town of Ohrid, one of Macedonia’s main cities, with its ‘riviera’ with numerous hotels on the shore of Lake Ohrid and its architectural treasures of centuries past. It is a beautiful city with its old quarter and its many churches and mosques in and around the city, the citadel and its museum etc.
Naun Monastery and the sources of the Black Drim
Another excursion of about thirty kms was to Naun monastery, dedicated to the Archangels and to St Clement. The monastery was founded in the 9th century and contains precious wall paintings which have unfortunately not been well protected.
A little further on are the sources of the Black Drim which can be reached by boats propelled by oarsmen. A beautiful little trip on completely limpid and pure water, which runs into the lake.
Struga, at the end of Ohrid Lake
The town of Struga, built at the end of Lake Ohrid, is also a must for any tourist worth his salt. It’s a little town full of charm, where the pedestrian zone is full of life, as is its colourful vegetable market and its lake shore.
Cruise on Lake Ohrid
Your reporter was not able to take part in any of these excursions, but according to those who did, these these cruises were a great success. It’s true that the view must have been magnificent.
SKOPJE the capital
After all the participants left Ohrid at 08.00 on October 12th, the programme included a tour of the various sites of the capital, which we reached at midday on the dot. Lunch had been served in various restaurants, cleverly selected according to the buses you were travelling in. And it was after the lunch that the various guides took charge of the participants to take them to Skopje’s key sites. The town is dominated by statues celebrating the city’s ancient and recent history, and of course the most imposing of them is that of Alexander the Great. Not forgetting the almost mythical presence of Mother Theresa, who was born in Skopje. But the old town, the citadel and other sites also fascinated the visitors, before the transfer to the Aleksandar Palace hotel where the gala evening took place.
CONFERENCES, MEETINGS AND MACEDONIAN ARTS
The Annual Conference is also the opportunity to bring together the National Representatives at the board meeting commonly known as the Executive Board. This meeting was held at 09.00 on October 10th in the Biljana Hall of the Metropol Hotel.
A lecture was given by Vice-President Herman Siebens and Aleksandra Markovska, on the subject of ‘Quality in Education’; the speakers repeatedly questioned why and how things were done in all situations. It was a brilliant demonstration, though unfortunately not well attended.
As part of the management competition run by Adolf Steindl and Eda Veeroja, the director of the Metropol hotel (and others!) Filip Misevski, gave a lecture about Macedonia’s tourism assets, illustrated with statistics. Thus tourism represents 2% of the country’s GDP, and there were two million tourists in 2011, the forecast for 2012 being 2.4 million. And 85% of holidays are booked on the Internet.
By way of discovering Macedonian culture, there was also a workshop at which Macedonian dishes were presented, prepared and tasted, as well as an exhibition of Macedonian art. In the evening at the buffet dinner devoted to Macedonian cuisine, there was a very lively folk music performance, which what’s more was followed by a conga by a lot of the guests who danced around the tables.