Tourism sector provides hope for economy

TTimes
By TTimes September 20, 2017 13:05

Tourism sector provides hope for economy

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  • Although the challenges are many, the public and private sectors need to work on a common language of cooperation for the sake of development, experts say

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Tourist season might be over, but tourism is here to stay based on the numbers shared by the Bank of Albania, confirming a positive balance of 156 million Euros for this year’s first six months.

In addition, the mounting interest of foreign investors in Albania’s coastline is another indicator how developing the tourism service will increase economic development for the country.

Actually, the private sector has long sensed the potential hiding in Albania’s tourism service, judging by the high quality touristic villages already being built on the coastline. Such are the “Green Coast” at Palase, and “New Born” at Lalzit Bay, investments worth 80 million Euros which have also been given the status ‘strategic investment’.

Soon to be built is the “Palasa Bay Resort” at Dhermi Bay, with similar complexes to follow all along the southern coastline. And though there is a building of 350 thousand square meters being built at Lalzi Bay which on its own is worth 90 million Euros, we believe the highest figures are still to be expected.

The government, which must contribute to the development of tourism to enjoy its fruits, also has plans on what improvements to focus on.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, for example, stated that “all hotels and service units operating on the coast must take place a wastewater system. We will make this very clear to them; otherwise they will not be allowed to operate.”

Representatives of the private sector, on the other hand, have a more demanding opinion on the issue at hand. More than domestically, they think that the development of the service is related to the construction of airports, infrastructure, the expansion of the electric and water systems and disinfection of touristic areas.

Equally important is the professional management of the resorts.

“There are joint efforts within the community of private investors to create a managerial class through professional education and trainings, in order to raise the quality of our services,” said Luan Bregasi, director of ‘Biznes Albania’, to local media.  

Although the challenges are plenty, the public and private sectors need to work on a common language of cooperation for the sake of development. Such is the opinion of foreign experts, like the Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann, who stated the following:

“There are many things that can be done to make Albania an even more attractive tourist attraction. There is the possibility of an airport in the south, development of smaller ports, which for historical reasons were never established, the possibility to attract investment on five-star hotels, traveling to Albania by plane is still very expensive and this issue needs to be addressed.”

Similarly, Hausmann added that, when it comes to raising foreign investments in Albania, “There is nothing specifically wrong with the taxation system, but the business ecosystem needs to improve. Investors need to know what opportunities they are offered here, and we need to make it easier for them by fighting bureaucracy and making the system effective. I believe a proactive politic concerning foreign investment is vital, where we don’t wait for them to come, but rather be aggressive and sell them a good reason to be here, a chance they are missing by looking at other opportunities. So, we must place Albania in their heads.”

 

SIDONJA MANUSHI

 

TTimes
By TTimes September 20, 2017 13:05