The Increasing Market Employability (IME) Program is cooperating with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Macedonian authorities to provide maximum safety to support adventurous activities for all delegates of AdventureNEXT while setting a responsible course for safety and risk management preparedness for Macedonia’s tourism future.
Pivoting off the ATTA’s Base Camp Training program offered to all adventure providers in January in Skopje, Macedonia, the IME took the next step to develop a more thorough emergency plan to support adventures associated with AdventureNEXT Balkans. The IME organized a follow-up workshop led by ATTA AdventureEDU instructor, safety management expert and one of the founders of the global ISO standards for safety management, Jean-Claude Razel. The workshop helped key stakeholders better understand and define their roles and responsibilities as it relates to safety, which also helped to establish better coordination within Macedonia’s overall safety management system and infrastructure. More than 30 workshop participants over the course of 3 days heard from Razel about how to deal with emergency situations.
“We need the cooperation and the assistance of the local authorities to put into place the best possible emergency plans and to be fully prepared for the adventure travelers that will come to Ohrid – for AdventureNEXT delegates, as well as international and domestic travelers who will follow,” said Razel.
IME efforts are primarily directed toward working with national and local Macedonian authorities to improve the coordination between all stakeholders on safety response and emergency management and to ensure adequate infrastructure exists. The initiative is intended to lead to better preparedness in emergency situations and improved safety of AdventureNEXT Balkan participants and also to serve as a model for Macedonia to help lay the groundwork for the safety of all other tourists.
“It was very good to understand the correct link between all of the relevant public institutions,” said Dimitri Dimitrov, a tour guide with Kompas. “We realized that the best way to contact the responsible institutions is through the national emergency number for the Crisis Management Center. This will trigger all relevant institutions and start the information and action flow, making the system more responsive and ultimately safer for tourists.”
One outcome of the workshop is that, for the ATTA’s May event in Ohrid, Red Cross volunteers also are now actively engaged and will be in state of readiness throughout the conference to respond, if necessary, to any emergencies related to adventure activities. In addition to readying the Red Cross and local and national governmental stakeholders in safety management, the ATTA and the IME Programme also worked to help the ground suppliers to develop safe itineraries for the conference. These local suppliers will use them as management practices on how to deal with safety in adventure tourism for the foreseeable future.