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Country Highlights

Tourism as Albania’s Progressive Approach

Tourism is a vital industry for Albania, contributing over 8% to the country’s GDP and generating 38% of total exports. In 2019, Albania welcomed a record 6.4 million foreign visitors, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 49% drop in international tourist arrivals and revenue in 2020.

As global travel rebounds, Albania has an opportunity to diversify and upgrade its tourism offerings beyond its famed sunny beaches. Investing further in cultural, eco-adventure and gastrotourism can attract higher-spending visitors, lengthen tourist seasons and spread economic benefits to rural areas. Improved destination management, skills training and better transport links between coastal and inland regions can aid this transformation.

Developing cultural tourism circuits centered around historical sites, museums and festivals celebrating traditions like mask-wearing can attract more European cultural tourists. Investments are needed in amenities, guides and marketing these inland destinations.

Eco-adventure tourism leveraging Albania’s abundant natural beauty holds great economical promise. Establishing trekking trails, mountain biking routes, rafting/kayaking facilities, wildlife reserves with accommodation and creating tour packages can boost rural incomes.

Gastrotourism showcasing regional cuisines and local produce can complement cultural/adventure activities. Support for restaurants, cookery schools, culinary festivals and linking farms to hospitality can boost value from agriculture as well.

With the right tourism and product diversification and enabling ecosystem, Albania’s tourism industry is well positioned to not just recover from the pandemic impacts but also drive stronger inclusive growth over the long-term.

As a leading consulting firm focused on strategic planning and project implementation, RFC has in the past and will look forward to supporting Albania’s national and regional authorities to sustainably grow this vital sector. Our comprehensive, evidence-based approach integrates transport and infrastructure analysis, workforce skills assessment, and policy and regulatory advice – tailored to boost community-centered tourism. With the right long-term vision, Albania can become a world-leading sustainable tourism destination.

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