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Albania chasing tourist flows: Increasing tourism numbers

Albania chasing tourist flows: Increasing tourism numbers

Albania enjoyed an increase in tourism In 2016: 4.3 million – 15% more than in 2015.

Albania aims to become a tourist destination for Italians. The Balkan country, after years of isolation, has been included by the Rough Guides among the top ten destinations in 2016 and currently arouses the interest of the main Italian tour operators with seaside resorts such as Valona and Saranda and with historical tours.

“In 2016,” explains Tourism Minister Milva Ekonomi, “there was a boom in tourists: 4.3 million, 15% more than in 2015. The sector is one of the most important, with a turnover of 1.5 billion euros, 7% of the national GDP.” Flows from neighboring countries such as Kosovo and Macedonia, but also from Germany, Poland, and Italy contribute to growth.

Albania has been applying to enter the EU since 2014. On this occasion, work was carried out to improve the structures in the main centes, concentrating investments mainly on infrastructures, also with foreign aid contributions attracted by incentives such as VAT from 20 to 6% for hotels. Lake Scutari, the area of Shirokë, will be subjected to a new infrastructure plan similar to the Valona seafront that will be implemented by the Albanian Development Fund.

The interview of Piero Scutari

“The country wakes up from a long torpor, the mirage of being part of the European Union has given incentive to the rulers and to the population that looks to the future with confidence for their future generations.

Presenting the annual Enlargement report in Brussels, Commissioner Štefan Füle said that the enlargement of the European Union would lead to concrete results: reforms are gradually transforming the Balkan countries. With regard to Albania in particular, the Commission congratulated itself on its “concrete actions and demonstrations of constant political will” in the field of reforms, necessary for future EU membership.

Since 2014, Albania “has made further progress, consolidating the reforms concerning the rule of law,” said Piero Scutari, president of the Thalia Tourism Studies Center, of the Arbreshe ethnic group, the first and only tour operator in the 80s to sell in Italy tour packages on Albania.

Albania’s alignment with the European regime is an achievable mirage thanks to the economic improvement of Albania, also due to the trust placed by investors in which Italy is the protagonist in the hospitality, catering, and small-medium industries sectors that in Albania they enjoy privileged taxation. The moderate cost of living favors the demand for tourism, whose economic contribution attracts flows not only from neighboring countries.

Added to these activities is the availability of retirees including Italians, whose low income allows them to live with greater dignity in Albania, after all, concludes Scutari, the two countries have much in common and are separated only by a strip of sea, the Adriatic that unites them with frequent short-trip daily connections.

Some tourist attractions are offered by Albania, a special unexpected tourist destination, rich in authenticity and hospitality.

Berat and Argirocastro

The cities of Berat, and of Argirocastro with their picturesque Ottoman medieval historical centers, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site recently. The lanes, the characteristic windows of the architecture of the houses, the furnishing of the receptive structures, all transmit the emotion of being in an Ottoman village.

They are not only suggestive places but ideal bases inserted in enchanting landscape and naturalistic contexts that offer interesting excursions.

Thet National Park

In the north of Albania, in the region of Scutari, the Albanian Alps offer an unspoiled and enchanting natural landscape, far from the destinations of mass tourism, an evocative place with beautiful mountains and valleys, clearings, flower fields, streams, waterfalls, dense forests of beeches, lakes, small villages, and simple and genuine people.


The most important urban center in northern Albania rises on Lake Scutari, the largest lake in the Balkans where at sunset the Albanian Alps are mirrored. Situated at the foot of the Castle of Rozafa, Scutari has a characteristic and well-kept historical center, with a rich cultural and historical heritage, comfortable hotels, ideal base for excursions in the Alps, on the lake, in Alessio, nearby tourist resort surrounded by wetlands, protected areas and forests, and Velipoja and Shëngjin with their sandy beaches.

The Albanian coast of the Valona region

Kissed by the sun 300 days a year, the coast that from Valona meets Greece for about 160 kilometers is a succession of spectacular landscapes; mountains that dive into deep waters; hills covered from Mediterranean vegetation; a succession of beaches, bays, and coves with transparent and turquoise waters; spectacular beaches; small villages, restaurants, and hotels; and simple and hospitable people.