The South-East region is one of the eight planning regions established by the Law on balanced regional development in 2007 and represents basic unit for development planning needs and implementation of measures and instruments to promote development in the Regional Development Strategy.
The South-East region includes the territory of Strumica – Radovish, and Gevgelija – Valandovo valley, located along the valley of Strumica, and Vardar River. The region includes the above-mentioned valleys and the massifs of Belasica Mountain to the South, Ograzden to the East, Plachkovica to the North, and Srta in the central part, as well as the Eastern part of Kozuf Mountain. The region borders with Republic of Greece to the South, Republic of Bulgaria to the East, and to the North and the West with the East and Vardar region respectively.
The region has area of 2.835 km2, which represents 10.9 % of the total area of the country. It consists of 10 Municipalities: Bogdanci, Bosilovo, Valandovo, Vasilevo, Gevgelija, Dojran, Konche, Novo Selo, Radovish and Strumica with a total of 171.416 residents and population density of 63.2 citizens per km2.
In 2012, in the South-East region was recorded the highest employment rate of 60.9 % compared with other regions and the lowest unemployment rate of 13.8 %. The average net wage per employee in 2012 totaled 16.600 MKD or 79.4 % of the national average. The South-East region accounts for 9.7 % of total GDP formation of the Republic of North Macedonia.
Because of the particular geographic and topographical position of the South-East region, it is characterized with long and hot summers with high temperatures during the day, and less rain, and lower winter temperatures, with winds blowing from all directions. With approximately 230 sunny days a year this region is the most sunny in the country. These climatic conditions are favorable for the development of agriculture. The quality and high volume production of early vegetables, fresh fruit and vegetables, and industrial crops, enables the development of Canning-processing industry of agricultural products for which the region is recognized. Other important sectors are textiles, tobacco, construction, trade and catering. Although the industry dominates, the services, construction and agriculture, with an extremly dinamic growth also have a significant participation. These sectors in the region create the highest number of new jobs.
South-East region has 120.583 (ha) of agricultural area with a total cultivable area of 56.907 (ha). The agricultural area in the South-East region is 9.5 % of the total agricultural area in the country. As to the vineyard area, the South-East region has a territory of 4,408 (ha), which is 20.7 % of the total, and comes second after Vardar region.
According to the road network the South-East region has the least length of local road network of 957 km compared with Polog regon which has local road network of 1.381 km. According to the number of beds the South-East is ranked third after Southwest and Pelagonia region with 6.088 beds, and with 305.163 nights participates with 14.2% in the total number of nights spent in the country.
The region is also rich in natural resources. The Radovish and Konche regions are characteristic in their supply of mineral, non-metal raw materials, such as quartz and clay. Mineral metal raw materials present in Radovish include iron and zinc ore, copper, gold, silver, chrome and uranium, whereas Konche is host to limestone, marble and copper. In Strumica micro region, the mine for exploitation of feldspar “Hamzali”, is of a sodium character, and is the only one found on the territory of North Macedonia and the Balkans. The Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) mine “Memeshli” is a site which represents marbled limestone, one of the rare sites in theRepublic of North Macedonia. An investigation is being conducted on Ograzden Mountain in the immediate vicinity of the populated area Ilovica, where there are indications of potential copper and gold stores.
The South-East region is rich with thermo-mineral potential. In Strumica, 12 km South-East of the city of Strumica, under Belasica Mountain, is the village of Bansko where the thermo-mineral springs of Bansko Spa are located. Out of the total five thermo-mineral springs, only the biggest one is professionally piped, while the other four flow out freely without any plumbing. The temperature of the water in the main spring is around 71°C and 56°C in the others. In terms of mineral content they are all with the same mineral composition, which indicates that all originate from the same source. In Gevgelija micro region, 5 km South-West of Gevgelija, at 59 meters above sea level Negorski spa (Negorski banji) is located. It is the lowest spa in the country and has two springs – Vrela Banja (Hotspa) at 40°С and Studena Bana (Cold Spa) at 38°С. The water contains calcium, magnesium, rubidium, cesium, radon and other minerals.
From the water resources of the South-East region very famous are Smolare waterfalls with a height of 39.5 meters and Koleshino waterfalls with a height of 15 m, both located in the Municipality of Novo Selo. Also, the region has several artificial lakes such as “Mantovo” in Municipality of Konche, “Turija” and “Vodocha” in Municipality of Strumica, “Paljurci” in the Municipality of Bogdanci. The natural Dojran Lake in Municipality of Dojran is one of the most beautiful natural resources in the country.
In the South-Eastern region there are numerous famous historical sites and objects that can be visited. The archaeological site “Isar” in the village of Marvinci, the underground cultural monument “Idomena”, also “Stakina cheshma” in Municipality of Valandovo, the archaeological site “Stranata” near the village of Angelci, as well as the church “Sv. Petka” in the village of Tribichino, Municipality of Vasilevo, the archaeological site “Vardarski Rid (Vardar Hill)” at the Municipality of Gevgelija, the monastery Sveti Stefan (Saint Stephen) at the Municipality of Konche , archaeological site “Crveno pole” (Red field) located near the village of Barbarevo, “Kjeramidarka” in the village of Mokrino, Municipality of Novo Selo, the church Sveta Troica (the Holy Trinity) in Municipality of Radovish, the monastery Sveta Bogorodica Milostiva (Holy Mary the Merciful) (Eleusa) in the village of Veljusa, the complex of churches Sv. Leontij (SaintLeontij) in the village of Vodocha as well as the famous site Carevi kuli in Municipality of Strumica are just some of the objects which mark the South-East region.
There are a great number of cultural and sports events, summer and winter festivals, concerts, art exhibitions and plays that are organized in the South-East region throughout the year. Among the most important events are the Valandovo Folk Festival, the Strumica Carnival, Strumica open Festival, Smokvijada (Fig Festival) Gevgelija; Day of Leek in the villages of Gradashorci, Municipality of Vasilevo; the festival of the Chestnut in Smolare; the 1st of May races in the village of Stojakovo, Bogdanci; the Festival of old folklore, Gajda, in the villages of Ignjevo, Radovish; Warm Cultural Wave (Topol kulturen bran) in Konche; Dojran handshaking (Dojranski rakuvanja); A Holiday of the Municipality of Bosilovo; etc.
All these natural resources and features attract the attention of visitors, attract more tourists from the country and abroad, so in the recent years there has been increased tourism, which has led to an increased capacity and variety of overnight accommodation in region.
By exploiting its strengths, overcoming of the weaknesses and exploiting opportunities, the South-East region continues to grow in a place which is desired for living and investing.