Albania asks Poland to set direct Tirana flights, invest in tourism

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 7, 2017 14:22

Albania asks Poland to set direct Tirana flights, invest in tourism

Story Highlights

  • With an annual increase of about 74 percent in the number of tourists, the Poles are the surprise visitors on Albania’s top ten chart of tourists by citizenship during this year, with more than 113,000 tourists

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TIRANA, Dec. 7 – Albania has asked Poland to consider establishing direct flights with Tirana and encourage Polish investment in Albania, especially in the emerging tourism sector at a time when Poles are emerging as one of the country’s top tourists.

Speaking in Warsaw this week at a joint news conference with his Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo, Prime Minister Edi Rama said there is great untapped potential in Albania-Poland economic and trade relations, also examined at a joint business forum.

“I have asked the Prime Minister to encourage Polish carriers to consider the opportunity of establishing a direct flight which would of course bring high and mutual benefits,” said Rama.

His visit to Poland came one year after Polish Prime Minister Szydlo visited Tirana to reconfirm Poland’s support to Albania’s EU bid and urge stronger economic cooperation.

With Albania having made it to the top 10 favorite destinations for the Poles, Albanian officials have been lobbying Poland’s state-run airline LOT to launch direct flights with Tirana, instead of more expensive charter flights.

With an annual increase of about 74 percent in the number of tourists, the Poles are the surprise visitors on Albania’s top ten chart of tourists by citizenship during this year, according to Albania’s state-run statistical institute, INSTAT.

More than 113,000 Polish tourists visited Albania in the first ten months of this year, reconfirming Polish interest in Albania after an annual survey conducted by the Polish Tour Operators Association, PZOT, ranked Albania’s as the Poles’ ninth favorite destination for 2015-2016.

“Albania is becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination for Poles. Polish tourists consider Albania as a very interesting destination and the tourism sector offers a huge cooperation space of mutual benefit for the two countries,” the Polish Prime Minister said.

With tourism emerging as one of the key drivers of growth, Albania has recently offered tax incentives for investment in luxury hotels and resorts.

Few months ago, Tirana tested a Solaris Urbino 12 electric, a Polish production named ‘the bus of the year 2017,’ to launch the first public transport electric buses.

Albanian mandarins, massively produced in Saranda cooperative citrus farms, have also successfully penetrated the Polish market this year.

Polish foreign direct investment in Albania is estimated at only €2 million while the volume of trade exchanges between the two countries, overwhelmingly dominated by Albanian imports from Poland at about €63 million annually, according to central bank and INSTAT data.

A NATO ally and supporter of Albania’s EU integration bid, Poland has been one of the bloc’s most dynamic economies and success stories since joining the EU in 2004.

Albania and Poland have been marking this year the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Ties between the two countries date much earlier from the 15th century Skanderbeg era to Polish contribution to Albanian discovery of oil and minerals in the first half of the 20th century.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 7, 2017 14:22