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Volume XX |

How is COVID-19 reshaping temporary and circular labour migration: Serbia and North Macedonia perspectives

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused migrant workers worldwide to face numerous and specific challenges. This study aims to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic and its societal impact have influenced temporary and circular migrants from Serbia and North Macedonia. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 50 participants to gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and migration practices. Temporary circular labour migration from Serbia and North Macedonia are most intensive towards EU countries, which are geographically close and well-connected by traffic, and with which migrants have well-established migration ties. The results show that after the outbreak of the pandemic, respondents faced termination of employment contracts, reduced working hours and earnings. Most of the respondents returned and only a few found formal employment in the country of origin. Job-related impacts of COVID-19 on respondents are determined by temporary residence, a form of employment and the employment sector. Temporary and circular migrant workers from Serbia and North Macedonia involved in the essential sectors in EU countries are less likely to be severely affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results suggest that temporary and circular migration schemes should be improved after the pandemic, in a way that is sustainable even in times of sudden changes. In that regard, in addition to considering the needs of the labour markets of countries of origin and destination, the needs and the rights of migrants, should be prioritized in common solutions.

Volume XX |

Role of media in managing environmental conflicts in Rovinari Thermal Power Plant area, Gorj County, Romania

Abstract: Thermal power plants currently contribute significantly to global energy production. However, they cause a series of environmental conflicts through pollution and environmental degradation processes. In this context, people, as well as a number of environmental organisations, NGOs, and mainly the media play an important role in managing these conflicts. In this study, we aimed to analyse how the media can contribute to the management of environmental conflicts generated by the Rovinari thermal power plant in Gorj County, Romania. Its impact is highly visible in the village of Rogojel (Farcăşeşti township), which is located in the immediate vicinity of the thermal power plant, owing to the noise produced by the conveyor belts and excavators, as well as the air pollution generated by the coal dust. Residents have submitted a series of complaints to the Environmental Guard, the Government, and the European Commission. As a method of investigating the situation, both local and national media, which have become a real agora where citizens express their dissatisfaction were chosen. Ziare.com was chosen as a news archive, where 20 volunteers read 24 news articles. When asked if the article reflects concerns regarding the environment, a total of 276 affirmative answers were obtained. In addition, when volunteers were asked how much violence and tension does the article convey, a total of 136 responses were obtained for maximum violence and 160 for high violence. The Cronbach Alpha index had values of 0.73 and 0.66 in the first and second cases, respectively. The articles and strong words of the volunteers were analysed using NVivo software to calculate their frequency and the degree of correct results. Currently, the situation is still open to debate, beyond the unlikely solution of relocating the entire locality or closing the thermal power plant.

Volume XX |

Multivariate and spatial analysis of reduced urban air pollution during COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi

Abstract: Towards the end of 2019, a novel contagious virus (COVID-19) came out of Wuhan, China and turned into a disastrous pandemic. Many countries were completely or partially locked down. The ongoing pandemic has greatly affected our society and economy but, on the other side, it had effects upon the natural environment, as it rejuvenated itself. The present study repots the air quality and spatial distribution of air quality parameters (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, O3 and CO) in Delhi, taking into account data from 36 monitoring stations, for the months of January – April 2019 and 2020, respectively before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statistical tools like box plot, Pearson’s correlation, and PCA were used to interpret air pollution data before and during the lockdown period. The results revealed the characteristics of pollutants with respect to location, relationship between pollutants, and monitoring their level in compliance with the limits set by the legislation. The results of multivariate analysis were further spatially analyzed by mapping the distribution of pollutants by using the Inverse Distance Weighted interpolation. The result revealed the gradual reduction in the pollutant concentrations (PM10, PM2.5, CO, SO2) and an increment in ozone concentration was observed, which was due to a drastic reduction in NO2, especially during March and April 2020, immediately after the declared lockdown in the region. The overall study indicated that the interventions for urban air pollution mitigation are crucial in the regeneration of nature.

Volume XX |

Sustainable tourism and community-based tourism in small islands: a policy analysis

Abstract: The importance of the tourism sector to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) relies on their “islandness”. Tourism contributes to its socio-economic development in many ways. However, their heavy dependence on foreign entities and expertise has encumbered processes that ensure greater local control, ownership, participation, and avoidance of leakages. Unshackling these dependencies is one of the biggest challenges faced by SIDS in their quest to self-determination and emancipatory futures. The article argues that new pathways and trajectories have to be found to induce the required change where sustainability and inclusivity become fundamental for self-determination, social justice, and a just tourism. The article suggests the establishment of specific island policies that support sustainability and Community-based Tourism (CBT). The suggestions also include the establishment of a regional CBT hub for Islands within a region. This article is a conceptual paper based on secondary data, journal articles, books and government documents.

Volume XX |

Heuristic Approach in Determining the Best Tourist Tours to Medieval Fruška Gora Monasteries in Serbia

Abstract: This study brings the results of comprehensive analysis aimed at finding the best tourist routes between twenty important tourism sites in Serbia: sixteen medieval monasteries at Fruška Gora Mountain, two other important monasteries in the area, and cities of Novi Sad and Belgrade as starting points of tours. Several travelling salesman problems are formulated and the shortest tours are found with the application of heuristic approach and genetic algorithm developed specially for this purpose. The best tour connecting all twenty sites of great tourist interest is firstly identified in strictly geographical terms by using GPS coordinates and orthodromic distances. This result, considered as the optimal in mathematical sense is not achievable in real circumstances, but can serve as target and be compared with any other solution obtained as if the touring all sites is made by car. In this study the distances between sites are based on node-to-node ground transportation infrastructure data downloaded from the Google Maps Service at Internet. Shortest tours respect topography of the area and can be used for planning tourist and other visits to monasteries and cities of national and international importance. The results of this study are considered as input to improvement of existing government policies affecting Serbian travel and tourism marketing. An approach is applicable elsewhere with open agenda for extensions and further improvements.