Macedonia Travel is a tour operator with focus on responsible travel. Our vision is to develop and promote authentic and unique travel experiences which will bring the greatest possible benefit to the travelers, the host population and the local tourism businesses and entrepreneurs, whilst minimizing the negative environmental and social impact of our travels.
We are very aware of the positive and the negative economic, ecological and ethical impact that tourism can have on our environment and culture, and we keep reducing our environmental and social footprint whenever we can. It is not an easy or fast process, but we are ambitious and dedicated to reducing the negative impact of tourism, and we have created our sustainability strategy as a set of 5 goals, based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Famous as “The Cradle of Culture and Land of Nature” Macedonia has great potential for tourism, which could be one of the main sources of income in the country. This means decent employment in hotels, restaurants, transportation and guiding, but also in agriculture, fishing, food processing, handicrafts, arts, and other services.
Staying in small, family owned hotels, in guesthouses and mountain huts will not only contribute to their better living standard and prosperity, but it will also make your experience more authentic and memorable.
Our guides are highly professional, and they are local. They know the best way to experience the most out of the major tourist attractions even with big crowds. But they can also bring you to off-the-beaten-path spots you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
We have committed to support the local communities and give immediately back to the people who make your trip special:
- By arranging your overnights in locally owned hotels and guesthouses;
- By working exclusively with local guides and drivers;
- By ensuring that all guides, experience providers and staff have a written employment contract, including labour conditions and a job description;
- By ensuring that they are paid a living wage that is equal or above the legal industry standard;
- By providing regular trainings for them to be highly skilled in their job and to understand all relevant aspects of our sustainability policy and to comply with it;
Climate change is one of the most urgent problems facing our world today and the tourism sector is a growing contributor to the problem. Our challenge is to prepare for a low-carbon society by further reducing our environmental impacts, while ensuring we preserve tourism’s social and economic benefits – both for the host community and our customers. That's why we have signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, and we have agreed on the five shared pathways to follow: MEASURE – DECARBONISE – REGENERATE – COLLABORATE – FINANCE, and to deliver plans aligned with these pathways to cut tourism emissions in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050.
We have committed to:
- Measure the CO2 emission on all our trips and invest in promotion of the most sustainable tours and ways to travel. Our plan is to reduce the CO2 emissions per passenger per day by 5% every year from 2022 onwards.
- Actively reduce our carbon footprint in our office, by: purchasing green energy and energy efficient lighting for all areas, using automatic switch on/off systems with timers and setting the equipment by default in energy saving mode; choosing low energy equipment when buying new items; measuring and reducing staff related travel, using more sustainable modes of transport and by implementing a work-from-home policies and online meetings;
- Invest in reforestation
- Promote vegetarian and vegan meals on your trip. Macedonia has 300 sunny days a year – it is the heaven for vegetarians! Our cuisine is a beautiful mix of Oriental, Mediterranean and Continental dishes, with many varieties of fresh salads, but also cooked, baked, roasted and fried vegetables in the form of ayvar, vegetarian turli-tava, typical Macedonian gravche-tavche, stuffed grape leaves, roasted peppers with garlic, and many more.
- Develop and promote unique, life changing experiences for longer holidays. By travelling slow you emit as little CO2 as possible.
RESTORE ECOSYSTEMS AND PRESERVE BIODIVERSITY
Healthy ecosystems give us the oxygen to breathe, they provide us with food, they clean our water and regulate our climate, and they inspire us for outdoor recreational activities and to travel. If we want to ensure our continued survival and wellbeing, we need to protect the ecosystem.
We have developed and marked a network of hiking and cycling routes in Macedonia, which are suitable for all levels of fitness. And, we have further committed to:
- Develop at least 4 new self-guided hiking routes every year. These routes will take in the national parks and in the monuments of nature, so we can also contribute to their protection by paying the entrance fee.
- Offer only animal friendly holidays: hunting and animal fighting, or any similar direct interaction with wild animals is not part of Macedonia Travel holiday offer
- Reduce the use of plastic on Macedonia Travel tours by: a) reducing use of plastic in our office to zero; developing and promotion of plastic free policy for our local partners: hotels, restaurants and excursion providers; training our guides in conservation and sustainable travel; promotion of plastic free travel to our clients
- Not promote souvenirs which contain threatened flora and fauna species, or historical and archaeological artefacts
PARTNERSHIP FOR THE GOALS
We cannot tackle sustainability issues alone. Our goal is to collaborate with all stakeholders: hotels and restaurants, tour leaders and local guides, local people and our clients. We want to partner with companies that share the core principle that holidays should benefit local people and places, not just profit from their resources.
Macedonia Travel publicly advocates for sustainable tourism in the media, at industry and governmental events, at our clients and amongst other audiences. We expect and help our staff and stakeholders to integrate sustainable thinking into their behavior.
This Sustainable Tourism Policy was developed for ourselves and for our partners. We want to set an example for our partners and our clients through the actions and behavior of our tour guides, drivers, cooks and accommodation providers who act as role models, to give practical guidance on how to achieve these objectives and to set goals to work towards a sustainable tourism sector.
Our policy is constantly being reviewed and we welcome feedback from all sources, so we can keep on improving our approach to responsible tourism.