Macedonian envoy seeks to bridge gulf through tourism
April 29 2013 11:41 PM

Macedonian ambassador Fuad Hasanovic

Macedonia is expecting a fairly large number of visitors from Qatar this summer, the country’s ambassador to Qatar said yesterday.

Fuad Hasanovic, who is Macedonia’s first ambassador in Doha, said the awareness of Qatari’s residents about Macedonia has gone up in the recent months, especially after the Balkan nation launched a tourism promotion campaign on two global television channels a year ago.

The envoy recalled that in just a little over a year since his country opened the embassy in Doha, there has been a series of official visits to both Qatar and Macedonia. “A delegation led by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Macedonia last year. HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani led a delegation to our country a couple of weeks ago. In between, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski led an official delegation to Qatar. Such high-profile visits made by Qatar leaders have given a lot of visibility to the country among Macedonians,” said the ambassador.

The ambassador said the embassy has been receiving inquiries from Qatar’s residents about the visa requirements to visit Macedonia and many of those people have evinced interest in visiting his country in the summer. “We are now highlighting those things that the tourists from the Gulf region would appreciate including the monuments that came up during the Ottoman period, along with other tourist attractions,” he said.

Hasanovic said there are many aspects that would highlight the cultural similarities between the people of this region and Macedonia.

The ambassador said those Qatar residents holding multiple-entry Schengen visa could directly travel to Macedonia. “Since there is no direct connection to Skopje, the only international airport in Macedonia, those intending to travel could choose a connecting flight,” Hasanovic said.

Dispelling the misconception over the long travel time, the ambassador said the country is getting noticed after the tourism campaign it launched last year.

The ambassador, however, said the embassy has no records of the number of Qatar residents who visited his country last year. “Apart from nature tourism, Macedonia also hopes that scenic and heritage spots in Ohrid and Struba would also evince interest among the visitors. Another major attraction for visitors from this country could be the traditional Turkish market in the capital Skopje.”

The capital city of Skopje, which has many historical monuments, also happens to be the birthplace of Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, and a large number of tourists visit the house where she was born.

Acknowledging the interest shown in the last one year by Qatar in exploring investment opportunities in Macedonia, Hasanovic felt it would go a long way in promoting tourism to his country in coming years.




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