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Macedonian Monastic Tourism to Be Boosted

The total of 27 monasteries which offer touristic opportunities have been identified in Macedonia's Strategy for Development of Tourism.

In order to develop this type of tourism, the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism is preparing a project, which is now in its final phase. The project includes a website that will feature an electronic guide to the religious and monastic tourism in Macedonia, and the production of printed advertising material.

According to the Agency's director, Kristijan Dzambazovski, the project will yield yet another complete touristic product, which will cover a new market segment and attract more tourists.

According to the World Tourism Organization, around 330 million tourists visit religious sites and edifices in the world annually.

Macedonia can offer its monastic tourism simply because there are 4,300 archaeological sites, 1,000 churches and monasteries, 230 monuments of the Ottoman architecture and 43 towards and ramparts on its territory, Dzambazovski deemed.

From a historical point of view, the monastic tourism in Macedonia has a long tradition and there are sources that speak about the accommodation capacities and hospitality of the monasteries in the past. 

According to Dzambazovski, the potential for monastic accommodation in Macedonia is huge but it is not always recognized as such.

There are around 155 preserved monasteries, of which the bulk have local significance, while 99 are demolished or semi-demolished. But there is also a large number of monasteries which are particularly important for the project, because they have regional, national and international significance.

'We've selected 16 monasteries that 'meet at least one criterion' for a stationed form of touristic turnover, i.e. have the possibility to accommodate guests in their premises," Dzambazovski said.

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