Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Borce Stamov: Dojran becomes a modern tourist resort

The water quality test results we received in May show that most of the water is first category, while in some places the water is second category. It is something we have not seen in the last 5-6 years

Gradonacalnik Dorjan 2

The water returned to the lake, the municipality is dedicated to the beaches and accommodation facilities. Dojran Mayor Borce Stamov said they are working on promoting Dojran as a tourist resort. There is a web site dojrana.mk as a platform for those who want to come and need information about everything, from accommodation to eating places, places for strolling. Tourism branding of Doiran is a project that is yet to come. A logo will be designed, it will be worked on enriching the visual identity of Dojran and branded products that will be bought as souvenirs from Dojran.

Dojran is preparing for new tourist season. Last summer you had 180,000 visitors. How many do you expect this year?

STAMOV: Dojran is already prepared for this season. The objective of 180,000 tourists set last year is an objective for this year as well. We believe the figure will be exceed. That is also the real accommodation capacity of Dojran. For a larger number Dojran needs to extend the accommodation capacities, something we are working on and we expect this trend of increasing number of tourists to be followed by investors, who will express interest in investing in new hotels.

Many years ago Dojran was known for the large number of children’s resorts, hotels of companies. What happened to those facilities?

STAMOV: Almost every bigger company had its resort. With the transition many of these companies and institutions ceize to exist. The facilities in Dojran entered into a legal maze, their ownership was unknown. In cooperation with the Government and relevant institutions we are trying to solve those legal labyrinths. Most of them have already been sold. For some there is an interest for reconstruction by companies that own them. Ten days ago a larger hotel was sold to “Ograzden” or Stopanska Banka. Now the hotel got a new owner and will start operating next summer. Here I would mention “Avtomakedonija”, which got a new owner, the resort of “Vodovod,” the Public Revenue Office. As a municipality we worked out a plan in which we offer locations for construction of new hotel complexes. We sold two such locations and new facilities will start to be built in the fall.

Gradonacalnik Dorjan 5

Seven beaches and 3.5 -km long walkway are operational.

STAMOV: As never before, Dojran has many beaches arranged in the most modern standards. Seven beaches in Dojran and one in New Dojran. The quay in Old Dojran is operational. The tender for the construction of additional 3-km long walkway, something that will connect New and Old Dojran and thus receive 6.5-km long path for walking and cycling, has been closed.

The lake was one of the main reasons why Dojran lost its luster. Withdrawn and dirty water. What are the results of the recent tests?

STAMOV: We formally marked the full rehabilitation of Dojran Lake after the lake level returned as before the environmental disaster. That has created better conditions for arranging the beaches, as well as better conditions for further development of tourism in Dojran. Last year we have completely reconstructed wastewater treatment plant, through cross-border cooperation project with Greece. Today, perhaps, we have the most modern wastewater treatment plant in Macedonia. The water quality test results we received in May show that most of the water is first category, while in some places the water is second category. It is something we have not seen in the last 5-6 years.

What about road infrastructure?

STAMOV: Dojran, just like most of the municipalities in eastern Macedonia, had a problem with road infrastructure, something that has been left aside. But, with the assistance by the Government and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, sections of the Valandovo-Dojran road are being reconstructed each year. The construction of Demir Kapija-Smokvica highway is important to us. Dojran will be easily accessible primarily for Macedonian tourists, but also for Serbian tourists who are transiting through Macedonia. The tendering procedure for asphalting of regional road Nikolic-Dojran is wrapping up, and the construction should begin by the end of August. That will completely connect Dojran Lake, which will be additional motive for development of that part of Dojran Lake, as well as development of camps on that side. Urban development plan for Nikolic is underway, and it stipulates numerous locations for construction of holiday villas. The place is further away from Star (Old) Dojran and I believe prices will be attractive and locations will be sold out rather quickly. Moreover, we have also prepared a plan for beach landscaping. We apply with those projects to the available funds and I think we will soon have well-arranged beaches in that area, as well.

What does the local population think of this? Do they believe Dojran will be able to get its old charm back in full? Are they investing in accommodating capacities, hospitality facilities?

STAMOV: Speaking of old charm, one has to mention that tourism management back than and now is completely different. Many of the privately-owned accommodating capacities have already been renovated. Rooms are being turned into studios or apartments. The Tourism Office already has contracted with over 250 privately-owned renting capacities. We believe that number will continue to rise, there is also interest for building of new capacities, as well for additional increase of the capacity of existing facilities. Locals believe in Dojran’s bright future and one can see the difference each summer and feel the benefit of better touristic seasons.

Forums, however, contain numerous praises for the beaches, but also lots of criticism regarding hygiene in the city. Are you facing sewage issues? Does the city’s Utility Company have the capacity to deal with the increase in waste due to the large number of tourists?

STAMOV: Most of our problems are concerned with hygiene and sewage. It is a sector which has not seen investments for many years. The filtering station has been completed, we are working on the main collecting line, which we have been granted with about MKD 3 million for. The line itself has been built in 1988 and ever since the capacity it serves has multiplied at least ten times. We will expand the main collecting line, thus making room for additional expansion of the secondary sewage network. Some 60% of Star Dojran has been connected to the sewage network. About 40% still functions with sewage basins, which we have the proper cleaning mechanization for. As for hygiene, we have purchased a new waste collecting vehicle in March. The last such vehicle in Dojran has been purchased in 1980. Waste collecting frequency has increased, but a total of 35 employees in the entire Utility Company cannot manage to clean all that 10.000 people can leave behind in one day. Therefore, I also think that people’s lack of manners is also one of the reasons for bad hygiene. Over 50 new garbage bins have been placed. We have also invested in horticultural landscaping in Dojran. We have planted about 5.000 flowers, 100 palm trees, green areas have been arranged. We are trying to have a clean and arranged Dojran, a city that will be pleasant for rest and recreation.

There have also been remarks on street lighting.

STAMOV: It is a large street lighting network. It is specific that Star Dojran street lighting capacity is for 500-800 residents. In the summer period, that same capacity serves 30.000 residents. It is hard to meet all utility services at once during summer. We keep working constantly and we have managed to place street lights on additional three kilometers in the past two years. The system, however, is quite old. We have prepared several projects that might reduce street lighting expenditures, which will bring us more savings, as well as additional investment money. The project refers to replacement of regular lights with LED lights. The new track which is projected to be built will also have proper street lighting – lighting in the central area will be good, as for improvements in lighting of the remaining parts, it would depend on the available assets.

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By: Biljana Zafirova

Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski