Tetovo’s Mercure hotel hosted the kick-off event that presented Metamorphosis’ new Smart Tourism Enhancement Project (STEP), which will be implemented in cooperation with the Centre for Development of Polog Planning Region and Council of the Elbasan County.

It is a grant contract of IPA2, the European Union’s Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, through which Macedonia and Albania will develop smart tourism in the Polog and Elbasan region jointly.

The promo event, attended by official representatives of the local authorities of both regions and tens of touristic entrepreneurs, saw the presentation of the plan on helping the touristic subjects in the next two years, via the use of contemporary promotion methods and use of new technologies, above all.

Alongside the project partners, entrepreneurs and representatives of the local self-governments, the event was attended by the Slovene ambassador Milan Jazbec. In his opening remarks, he wished a successful start and emphasized the importance of cross-border cooperation, while referring to Project’s name STEP, he wished advancement with big steps forward.

On behalf of Metamorphosis Foundation, as initiator and lead partner, an address was delivered by the director Bardhyl Jashari, who said that the area of tourism is a challenge for the Foundation, but reminded that Metamorphosis’ mission is increasing the quality of life through use of modern technologies.

The guest-representative of the Council of the Elbasan County – Bukurosh Stafa said that many sites in the Elbasan zone are a little exploited or not exploited at all in terms of tourism and that all actors will receive an active role with the help of the Project.

Fatmir Saiti from the Centre for Development of Polog Planning Region, as project partner, pointed out that the Centre has already been actively working on the region promotion and he identified target groups’ needs as well.

In addition, the attendees saw the presentation of project’s characteristics, objectives and expected results.

Over the course of the next two years, through support of private and public touristic subjects from both regions, capacities will be created and increased, standards of their work will be raised and intensive training on the use of online tools in promotion of touristic capacities on the regional and world market will be conducted.

In this regard, an online tool for networking and promotion of touristic offer from both regions, iTop, will be developed within the Project.

Apart from the opportunity for direct experience exchange, this event was also the inception point for creation of the STEP network for certification of touristic subjects from the two regions.

Lastly, the event saw the presentation of potential benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the possibilities for new jobs creation.