Guide to SKOPJE

Tourism brings our peoples closer together

Interview with Arkan Kerim, Generaltourist

You have been General Manager of Generaltourist which is one of the most popular tourist agencies in Macedonia. What are the most attractive tourist destinations in your offer?

Generally speaking, we offer travel arrangements to all destinations but we are most famous for our charter arrangements to Turkey and Egypt from June to September. Next year we’ll be celebrating the 10th birthday of Generaltourist as a private travel agency, so there will be many surprises for our clients during the whole year.

Where do Macedonian tourists like to spend their summer holidays? What destinations are they most interested in?

Statistically, Macedonian tourists prefer to spend their holidays in Greece, Turkey and Albania. Regrettably, in the past few years what is most important for our clients are prices, so they choose price over quality. The economic crisis made people look at prices first and then the rest of the arrangement.

Is Macedonia interesting enough for foreign tourists and what do they most like to visit here?

Macedonia is increasingly becoming an interesting tourist destination, and this positive trend has been growing rapidly year by year. Of course, we must commend all the effort that the Government put into promoting Macedonia and subsidizing foreign organized tourist turnover in Macedonia. There is a trend among travel agencies to attract foreign tourists which is really positive.

Surely, you must know what things they usually complain about in Macedonia?

Foreign tourists mostly complain about all the litter that can be seen everywhere, and we, as citizens, along with local communities, must work on eliminating this anomaly, so as to have a larger number of satisfied tourists leaving the country.

You have recently started organizing tours from Turkey to Macedonia. Are Turkish tourists interested?

It all started by chance and gradually grew into large-scale tourism. There is a lively interest and a growing number of Turkish tourists visit Macedonia and the Balkans.

Greece remains at the top of the list of most popular destinations. Do you work on attracting Greek tourists?

Greece is an excellent destination and together with our business partners Meli Tours we are working on attracting Greek tourists to Macedonia. Unfortunately, politics interferes with business. We had arrangements for a large number of Greek tourists for Christmas in Mavrovo, but a certain statement by a certain politician caused a domino effect and we had all reservations cancelled at the last minute. We sincerely hope that such things will not happen again in future because it is in the best interest of both tourists and businesses in Macedonia and Greece.

Where do you see the future of tourism development in Turkey, Greece and Macedonia?

Greece had a terrible season last year and they took all necessary measures to improve so, in the end, they will have a successful tourist season unlike Turkey. Turkey is having a very bad season because they thought that 2011 would repeat just by itself. That is why there will be major changes in Turkish tourist offer next year so as to avoid this year’s scenario. Macedonia is on the right track, we are progressing and it will continue to do so in the future.

A word or two about Arkan Kerim. You have been in this business for a long time so how do you find time for your private life? What are your interests and priorities?

I have been in this business since I was 19 years old and I love the job. I have been General Manager of a very successful travel agency for 10 years now. We have branches in Istanbul and Dubrovnik. My private life does suffer from time to time because of my obligations and frequent travels. Generaltourist is present in all segments of tourism business in Macedonia. Still, my personal priority is the hotel business and I hope that my biggest ambition, to own a boutique hotel in Skopje, will be realized in the near future, and that all my energy and efforts during these years won’t go to waste. A great satisfaction for me are also the awards that I received as manager of the agency. Last year Generaltourist was declared best travel agency for inbound tourism in Macedonia by the Ministry of Economy. This year, in Madrid, we were declared best travel agency for inbound tourism in Southeastern Europe and these recognitions are a huge satisfaction for all the energy and effort put into our work.

 

INFO:

Bulevar Kliment Ohridski 60

1000 Skopje,

теl: ++389 2 32 17 410

info@generaltourist.mk

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