Displaying items by tag: Albania http://ttgbalkans.com Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:03:45 +0000 en-gb Albania attracts great interest at WTM 2013 http://ttgbalkans.com/exhibitions/item/879-albania-attracts-great-interest-at-wtm-2013.html http://ttgbalkans.com/exhibitions/item/879-albania-attracts-great-interest-at-wtm-2013.html Albania attracts great interest at WTM 2013

Head of promotions sector, National Tourism Agency – Albania, Sokol Kongoli shared his impressions of this year's World Travel Market, London, with TTG informing that Albania's stand attracted a lot of visitors.

These included PR companies, not only from the UK but also from Germany, Belgium and other European countries.

"We even had a PR company from India approaching us with interest to establish business links with the Albanian tourism sector," Kongoli said, adding that the team presenting Albania onsite was also approached by a number of international media representatives interested in featuring the country and its offerings on their platforms and in their programmes.

When asked about the kind of information the Albanian delegation is promoting to trade visitors at the show, Kongoli said: "The information requests we are receiving at the show are mixed, but more than 50 per cent are interested in cultural tourism. Also, there is a great interest in outdoor tourism experiences."

The list of companies showcasing their products at the Albania stand includes:

Past & Present Journeys, ATHS, Albania Explorer, Outdoor Albania, Elite Travel, Europa Travel & Tours, Sondor Travel & Tours, Albania Holidays, Global Tours, Adventure & Fun Albania, Albtours D, ADA Travel & Tours, Agency Van Gogh and Promet T&T.

ssaghbini@ttgmena.com (Stefanie Saghbini) Exhibitions Wed, 06 Nov 2013 14:55:51 +0000
Interview with general manager, Elite Travel DMC, Elvis Kotherja http://ttgbalkans.com/more/interviews/item/845-interview-with-general-manager,-elite-travel-dmc,-elvis-kotherja.html http://ttgbalkans.com/more/interviews/item/845-interview-with-general-manager,-elite-travel-dmc,-elvis-kotherja.html Interview with general manager, Elite Travel DMC, Elvis Kotherja

Revealing Albania's untapped natural attractions, Kotherja highlights what makes the country a unique destination to discover and discusses how the entire Balkan region's travel industries can work together to promote tourism.

TTG: What are your latest tourism news and developments in both Albania and at Elite Travel DMC Travel DMC?

Although the tourist industry in Albania dates back to communist times and before, it is really only over the last five to 10 years that it has seen the major growth that has made it the country's number one industry and foreign currency earner, with an estimated contribution of 23.3 per cent to the country's GDP last year, and a trebling in the total visitor numbers from all major markets over the same five to 10 year period.

In the first place, this growth reflects an increasing awareness by foreign tour operators and individual visitors of the long untapped natural attractions of a country which is at a crossroads between the more developed and better known tourist destinations of the region, such as Greece, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Albania has also seen major infrastructure investments over the same period, including the construction of a new international airport in Tirana handling over a million and a half visitors a year, a major road building programme considerably reducing journey times within the country and between Albania and its neighbours, and the installation of modern mobile telecommunications networks.

But not only in my opinion but also that of many of my colleagues, perhaps the most important recent development for tourism in Albania is the decision by the recently elected Albanian government, which takes office this September, to establish for the first time a Ministry of Urbanization & Tourism almost exclusively dedicated to tourism rather than handling other issues such as Sport, Youth or Culture.

As regards Elite Travel DMC and recent developments at our company, we have successfully consolidated our position in the international market as a reliable local partner, not only providing services in Albania but also as a regional partner offering services across almost all the Balkan region.

The development I would like to highlight in particular is the work we have been doing on a project to develop a new business management software for use by the travel trade, funded 50 per cent by Elite Travel DMC and 50 per cent by the business development NGO Rritja Albania 'USAID Albania'. The project is being developed for us by a local company 'InfoSoft Software Development', and will be launched very soon under the title 'ISD Round Tour Management'. The software will be used not only by Elite Travel DMC but will also be available to all tour operators in the Albanian market, and will be sold later internationally. This pioneering software will give a chance to all Albanian tour operators to improve their services and become more effective internationally.

TTG: What makes Albania a unique and attractive travel destination?

Albania's location at the heart of a region of major interest for leisure, cultural and adventure tourism has many advantages. But what makes us particularly attractive as a tourist destination is the fact that we combine so many of these attractions - sun and sea leisure tourism, mountain and adventure tourism, and historic and cultural tourism – all in one small and increasingly well connected space, making it possible to combine a variety of activities in one relatively short stay.

But what makes our country unique compared with our neighbours in the region, is our newness on the tourism scene, making a visit to Albania that little bit more special and memorable. I believe it is this newness of the Albanian holiday experience and the sincerity and natural hospitality of our people that has caused our visitor numbers to rise so quickly in just a few years. This rise has not been confined to visitors from more distant countries but also includes visitors from our own region, who have been keen to experience something that was for so long so near and yet so inaccessible for them.

The challenge for Albanian tourism both now and in the future is to preserve this natural gift for sincere hospitality against the pressures of commercialism , so that our guests can rediscover the sincere smile that greeted them some years ago in Greece or Spain, and experience the same smile and welcome each time they come back. I believe it is very much in the Albanian nature to offer sincere hospitality and a warm welcome to any foreigner, and this is something which makes us special.

TTG: Are you promoting any niche types of tourism?

Yes, alternative types of tourism as well as traditional leisure tourism are very much part of Albania's offer, with outdoor and adventure activities based on coastal and mountain destinations attracting increasing numbers of visitors. Rafting, pony trekking, walking, paragliding are amongst the many activities on offer and increasingly available as better road communications open up the inner secrets of Albania' s wild and diversified nature.

And of course there are the rich cultural and architectural resources of our country, which is home to no less than three UNESCO World Heritage sites – Butrint, Berat and Gjirokaster - as well as the many historic areas and sites to be found in and around most of our major cities – Durres, Shkodra, Vlora, Pogradec and of course Tirana.

An exciting new development over the last couple of years has been the appearance on the Albanian market of some well known international brands offering high quality guided tour packages taking in Albania's main archaeological sites and cultural centres, as well as the establishment of a network of 'Authentic Albania' hotels and restaurants offering traditional style accommodation and cuisine often in venues of historical significance.

TTG: Who are your main feeder markets and are you targeting any new markets?

Currently Albania's main markets, and those of Elite Travel DMC, are in Western and Eastern Europe, including surrounding area countries, and the new Asian markets. Tourism has more than doubled or trebled from most of these, with some markets such as Kosova, Greece, Germany Switzerland and Austria, as well as the US, performing particularly well. As far as Elite Travel DMC is concerned, our major activity has been with tour operators from Germany, France, UK, Nordic Countries, Italy, USA and the Asian market for whom we have provided both in country holidays and regional tours, with a particular focus on adventure and cultural tourism.

Whilst Albania must continue to focus on all available markets and types of tourism, I believe we should increasingly be exploiting the regional dimension of tourism opened up by the end of communism and the improved land and sea communications within and between the countries of the region. I see a huge and untapped potential for attracting tourists from the neighboring counties and bringing in those from further afield already holidaying in our neighborhood to sample short one and two day visits to Albania, with a view to their returning for longer visits in the future.

TTG: Are you appearing at any travel trade events and if so what message are you hoping to convey?

During the last years, we have been regularly represented at the most important travel shows such as ITB Berlin, WTM London, Bit Milano, as well as more regional travel events.

Yes, this year for the first time Elite Travel DMC Travel will be representing Albania as main stand holder at the 23-25 October 2013 ITB Asia "Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market" in Singapore. This show is one of the best and fastest growing 'b2b' platforms for the Asian travel market, which is why we decided to be there, and to use our presence to present to new and existing Asian clients some of the unique and quality products Albania and the Balkans have to offer in 2014.

As regards the message we hope to convey in Singapore , it is very much the one we hope to convey to all our markets - namely that Albania is a new and in many ways unique and exciting destination with a dynamic and professional tourist sector, the natural and geographic advantages of our more established neighbours, and with our unique dimension of natural warmth and hospitality. The fact is that as the 'new kid' on the tourism 'block' in the Balkans, we know we have to try just that little bit harder.

TTG: How do you anticipate the travel industry will develop in Albania over the next few months?

Hopefully over the next few months, the travel industry in Albania will begin to see the fruits of this new relationship between a dedicated Tourism Ministry and a fully representative National Tourism Association.

As regards Elite Travel DMC, our main aim over the coming months will be to become more involved the area of sun and sea leisure tourism to balance our already well developed expertise in the cultural and adventure tourism sectors, which we have successfully promoted up to now.

But more generally, as someone who has travelled extensively in the Balkans over the last 10 years, and has become acutely aware of the spirit of good will that exists between business partners throughout the Balkan region, I would like to see more emphasis placed on promoting the Balkans as a whole as one great tourist destination, offering common European standards of service, and a colourful mosaic of inter-related traditions, cultures, history and life experiences. Not only will Albania and each country of the region benefit individually from this sharing of experiences and visitors, but I sincerely believe that tourist operators and tourists can do as much as any politician to bring about better mutual understanding between those of us who live and work in the region. This at least is my hope and yet another reason why I believe our tourist industry is a worthwhile target for far greater government effort, vision, and investment.

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) Interviews Thu, 05 Sep 2013 10:47:35 +0000
Albania witnesses boost in visitor arrival numbers http://ttgbalkans.com/tourism-boards/item/811-albania-witnesses-boost-in-visitor-arrival-numbers.html http://ttgbalkans.com/tourism-boards/item/811-albania-witnesses-boost-in-visitor-arrival-numbers.html Albania witnesses boost in visitor arrival numbers

Albania's Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports has recently posted tourism statistics for the first six months of 2013, showing a surge in the number of visitors to this Adriatic country.

The total number of tourist arrivals stood at 1,059,456 – 13.1 per cent more than in the same period last year (920,448).

Significant tourism growth was recorded for all six months of H1, with February showing the steepest rise (+34 per cent), followed by April (+18 per cent).

ttsierkezou@ttgmena.com (Tatiana Tsierkezou) Tourism Boards Tue, 13 Aug 2013 09:00:37 +0000
Hotelogix Partners with Albania Explorer to boost tourism http://ttgbalkans.com/technology/item/799-hotelogix-partners-with-albania-explorer-to-boost-tourism.html http://ttgbalkans.com/technology/item/799-hotelogix-partners-with-albania-explorer-to-boost-tourism.html Hotelogix Partners with Albania Explorer to boost tourism

HMS Infotech has announced an alliance with Albania Explorer as their Channel Partner in Albania for reselling Hotelogix to the hospitality industry there.

Hotelogix is a cloud based Property Management System (PMS) and Online Distribution System, used by small and medium sized hospitality businesses in over 50 countries across the globe today.

Albania Explorer is a tourism company located in Tirana, Albania, whose specialisation lies in providing Albanian destinations to their customers as well as providing hotel management solutions to the hoteliers they work with.

Albania is an emerging market and a very fast developing western Balkan country; statistics from the Balkan state show that the number of foreign tourists to Albania has been steadily increasing since 2007, rising from just over one million six years ago to around four million in 2011.

"Tourism is becoming a leading branch of the Albanian local economy and the hospitality sector is being invested progressively by local and international entrepreneurs," said managing director, Albania Explorer, Alma IIusku. "In my opinion, small and mid-sized hotels are and shall remain the predominating ones on the market."

These sentiments are equally shared by the European Travel Commission; they agree that the growth in the recent years indicate that tourism shall be an active generator of economic development in Albania throughout 2013 and beyond.

CEO, Hotelogix, Aditya Sanghi said: "We are excited to enter the Balkan Market via Albania and look forward to partnering with numerous hotels there, our aim is to provide the best quality hospitality solutions which are productive and cost-effective."

This alliance has a lot of potential especially since Albania is now expecting a big boost in their inbound tourism. Both Hotelogix and Albania Explorer plan to ensure that they provide premium cloud based technology to small and mid-sized properties in Albania.

ttsierkezou@ttgmena.com (Tatiana Tsierkezou) Technology Fri, 09 Aug 2013 12:09:39 +0000
Albanian Mobile Communication introduces Explore Albania app http://ttgbalkans.com/technology/item/797-albanian-mobile-communication-introduces-explore-albania-app.html http://ttgbalkans.com/technology/item/797-albanian-mobile-communication-introduces-explore-albania-app.html Albanian Mobile Communication introduces Explore Albania app

Albanian Mobile Communication (AMC) has recently launched Explore Albania app in order to promote tourism to the destination.

The app, which is free, is available in Play Store and Apps store.

The mobile app offers the possibility to explore and be informed about various aspects of the country via a number of categories of the app such as touristic destination, hotspots, trips, gastronomy, cities and hotels.

Explore Albania uses the geolocation feature to suggest the most relevant results near the user's location. Alternatively, users can manually browse information about other areas of the country.

nhami@ttgmena.com (Nataly Hami) Technology Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:44:24 +0000
New seaside promenade inaugurated in Shëngjin, Albania http://ttgbalkans.com/more/leisure/item/656-new-seaside-promenade-inaugurated-in-shëngjin,-albania.html http://ttgbalkans.com/more/leisure/item/656-new-seaside-promenade-inaugurated-in-shëngjin,-albania.html New seaside promenade inaugurated in Shëngjin, Albania

Prime Minister, Albania, Sali Berisha has attended the opening of the summer season at the coastal town of Shëngjin, where he inaugurated a new promenade worth €1.1 million.

The ceremony was also attended by former Presidents of Croatia and Kosovo, Stipe Mesic and Sejdiu Farmir, as well as the representatives of the diplomatic corps in Albania.

This ceremony was followed by the inauguration of a new promenade on the town's shoreline, named the Wilson Promenade after the late US president Woodrow Wilson, who had protected Albanian independence back in 1919. This new development is expected to contribute to positioning Shëngjin as an important tourist hub in the country.

At the inauguration Berisha commented: "Tourism is growing fast. In a period of six years, Albania, forgotten by tourism and visitors, ranks among the 10 countries with the fastest growth in world tourism. This is a remarkable success, but also there are major tasks ahead."

He also praised the work of mayor, Shëngjin, Salvator Kaçaj for his efforts to develop a new vision for Shëngjin, saying that thanks to his efforts, the city managed to welcome a 15-fold increase of tourists with dignity, culture and high quality services.

"We will soon inaugurate the new terminal of the Port of Shëngjin and guarantee that in the next four years, investment here will be much larger, and in the best interest of its citizens, all Albanians, and friends and visitors from Europe and the world."

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) Leisure Thu, 13 Jun 2013 10:01:13 +0000
Albanian Prime Minister outlines developments at Saranda Port http://ttgbalkans.com/transport/item/654-albanian-prime-minister-outlines-developments-at-saranda-port.html http://ttgbalkans.com/transport/item/654-albanian-prime-minister-outlines-developments-at-saranda-port.html Albanian Prime Minister outlines developments at Saranda Port

Prime Minister, Albania, Sali Berisha has recently inaugurated a €3,4 million investment in a new cruise terminal at Saranda port, which is has been transformed into a port for passengers and tourists.

Saranda District has attracted over $280 million worth of investments so far, and in recent years it has invested in 340km of road infrastructure – a 145km inter-city road, 154km rural road and a 30km local, city road – which has positively influenced the development of tourism and agrarian business in the area.

Tourist numbers to the coast are reported to have increased ten-fold, and over 600,000 tourists have visited Saranda resort city over the past two years – 45 per cent of those are foreign tourists visiting the country for a holiday.

Hotels within the region have increased to 200, with 28,000 beds, and due to this, 4,000 people are now employed in the tourism industry.

The sea port has transformed into a basis of regional development, as a new port for goods is being built in Limjon for almost $2 million.

Berisha declared: "The tourism industry in Saranda opens a fresh chapter of big cruise ships getting anchored in this pearl of Albanian tourism. Thus, Saranda is on the map of tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and beyond. It makes us proud because all visitors who set foot on this land go back satisfied and with indelible impressions of hospitality and cultural and historical heritage of Saranda."

He additionally communicated that the landfill and the airport are now prioritised, and there are additional plans for completion of works on the local roads of Saranda, Ksamil, Buneci and several others. Other projects include: the completion of works on water supply systems of Sarandë, Konispoli, Nivice, Shen Vasil and Lukova; the building of dockyards of the fishing ships; the fish market in Saranda; the vocational school on agri-business and tourism and reconstruction of all the schools; the reconstruction of the football stadium; the drafting of space development plans on the coastal area, Lukove commune, Ksamil and Sarande municipality; plus more.

He confirmed that visitors will get high standard services, delicious food and recreational options, and only the very best ones. Berisha also outlined that at this point in time, the government has decided to halve taxes on all the country's tourism industry.

"It will encourage the touristic operators and will increase the number of tourists and a further strengthening of the market during the touristic season," he explained, adding: "Tourism has become the main branch of economy. According to World Bank, Albania is ranked among the ten countries with the fastest tourism increase in the world and the government is set to encourage this pace of growth."

"We aim at a double increase of the number of tourists to increase employment of Albanian citizens," he concluded.

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) Transport Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:36:10 +0000
Tirana International Airport marks World Environment Day http://ttgbalkans.com/more/csr/item/637-tirana-international-airport-marks-world-environment-day.html http://ttgbalkans.com/more/csr/item/637-tirana-international-airport-marks-world-environment-day.html Tirana International Airport marks World Environment Day

Tirana International Airport (TIA) announced that it has celebrated World Environment Day in cooperation with the Regional Environment Centre (REC) by organising an education and animation activity at the airport's premises titled 'Think.Eat.Save. Reduce your Foodprint.'

The event was attended by children from Rinas and Qerreke, aged 11 to 12, who had the opportunity to learn how to reduce their negative environmental footprint and enjoy an animated theatre show for which the entrance fee was to bring an empty aluminium can.

"Together we improve our lives. We are happy to mark this day by joining in this activity along with the Regional Environment Agency. The best way to raise awareness and to enhance a sense of responsibility of environmentally friendly living is through the young generation. It is important to highlight that the impact of food waste is not just financial," said chief operations officer, TIA, Rolf Castro-Vasquez.

The activity organised by the airport follows the global campaign to cut food waste launched in 2013 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and partners.

This is not the first time that TIA is expressing concern for the environment. The airport recently became carbon accredited at the Mapping level. The Carbon Accreditation Programme assesses and recognises efforts to manage and reduce carbon emissions from airport operations.

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) CSR Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:57:35 +0000
New cultural centre launched in Kamëz, Albania http://ttgbalkans.com/more/leisure/item/610-new-cultural-centre-launched-in-kamëz,-albania.html http://ttgbalkans.com/more/leisure/item/610-new-cultural-centre-launched-in-kamëz,-albania.html New cultural centre launched in Kamëz, Albania

Kamëz, a suburb of the Albanian capital Tirana, has welcomed a new cultural centre, offering residents and visitors a range of modern business and entertainment facilities.

This modern, cultural hub features a theatre with 350 seats; a 320-seat multiplex cinema; exhibition space; library; and three conference halls with capacity to host 100, 70 and 50 people in seated configuration. In addition, an Internet hall is also offered, as well as several other venues.

The project is a result of a €1.6 million investment, and, according to the announcement made by the Albania's Council of Ministers, the new centre is set to host regular events and activities, national and regional festivals, youth theatre projects, and more.

The official launch of the centre was attended by Prime Minister, Republic of Albania, Sali Berisa, who congratulated the city's town hall on their proactive work on the project, and praised the centre's high standards and quality.

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) Leisure Fri, 31 May 2013 11:02:15 +0000
Albania’s second tourist office launched in Durres http://ttgbalkans.com/tourism-boards/item/590-albania’s-second-tourist-office-launched-in-durres.html http://ttgbalkans.com/tourism-boards/item/590-albania’s-second-tourist-office-launched-in-durres.html Albania’s second tourist office launched in Durres

Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports (MTCAYS) of Albania recently revealed that a new tourist information office became operative at the passenger terminal of the Durres sea port, providing more convenience to passengers travelling to and from Albania.

The office was established by MTCAYS, in cooperation with the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), and is the second in the country, following the launch of a similar tourist information hub at the Tirana International Airport Rinas Nënë Tereza last year.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports, Republic of Albania, Visar Zhiti stressed the importance of providing information to travellers and tourists at the country's main entry points.

"On this occasion, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation for the excellent cooperation to the Turkish Government, the Turkish Embassy in Tirana and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency, which enabled the building and installing of this important piece of tourist infrastructure in Durres. I would like to remind participants that this is the second information office, provided by MTCAYS and TIKA, after a similar one established at the Rinas Airport," said Zhiti.

Besides capital investments and tourism promotion, he stressed the importance of improving the infrastructure and services provided to visitors to the country.

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Tirana, Asha Hassan, who was also present at the opening ceremony, stressed the importance of implementing the project and praised the tourism capacities of Albania. He assured those present at the event that tourism-related cooperation between Albania and Turkey will be intense in the future.

Tourist Information Office at Durres provides travellers with information, leaflets, maps and brochures, and it also features a touchscreen monitor through which travellers can obtain relevant tourist information on their own.

TIKA is present in the country since 1996. It has been particularly supportive in the sectors of economy, trade, health, education, tourism, cultural heritage and more.

amladenovic@ttgmena.com (Ana Mladenovic) Tourism Boards Mon, 27 May 2013 12:09:08 +0000