IBNA Special Report
Tirana, November 5, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
If there’s a beautiful spot in Albania in terms of tourist attraction, then this is the Alps. The north of the country has several beautiful sceneries, which had they benefited from investments, then they would have turned into over populated tourist locations with Albanians and foreigners who love mountain tourism.
But neither during communism, nor during the two and a half decades of democracy, nobody cared about this natural Albanian pearl, which occupies more than half of the country. Even private incentives have been very limited. This, due to the fact that the necessary infrastructure that can be only afforded by the state, has been lacking.
In the recent months, there’s a serious incentive to improve tourism in the mountains. The Highland of Kelmend is one of those tourist attraction which is seen as very attractive for tourists.
In the Highland of Kelment, PM Edi Rama has inspected the progress of the projects which aim at turning this area into one of the biggest tourist attractions of Albania.
“Leqet e Hotit” where one of the nine panoramic balconies have been built along with the 30 km long road that links Tamara to Vermosh, will enable starting from next year, vehicles to reach the highest peak and the most northern point of the country within an hour.
The government wants to set its eyes on the Highland of Kelmend, a tourist destination not only for the winter, but all year long. Its aim is to combine natural sceneries with the alpine characteristics of the area.
Integrated project of the Alps
A very important project for the rebirth of this region is the integrated project of the Alps. In the framework of the cross border cooperation with Montenegro through the European Commission IPA funds,the road segment that leads to the border crossing point of Graboma, Montenegro will be built. This flux of traffic will have an impact in the improvement and diversification of the economy in these areas.
“It’s a big and complex project, the project that we have about the Alps area. The road will link us to the Albanian community of Plava and Guci. The integrated project of the Alps includes Montenegro and Kosovo. We will strongly rely on the people of the area, because there’s a very big natural tourist potential. This area also has its people and their hospitality”, says Mr. Rama.
A representative of the Municipality of Plava in Montenegro, praises the incentive of the Albanian government. “We’re seeing concrete steps taken from you from the official meetings in Tirana and here on the field”.
For PM Rama, integrated development of infrastructure will strengthen economic ties.
“These integrated projects and this cooperation will enable us to achieve a big unification, which some people are looking to achieve through nationalism. We do this with work and we don’t need to deal with borders. Let the borders stay there. They’re invisible. Meanwhile, the borders that have prevented our unification so far were poverty, lack of infrastructure, lack of economic cooperation”.
Family mountain tourism
In the commune of Vermosh, PM Rama has met with the residents of the area. He has talked to them about the development of family mountain tourism through the support of the government.
Some families in Vermosh have realized that tourism brings money. They say that they have often faced requests by foreign tourists for accommodation, food and transport.
These things don’t have a lot of cost, but it’s also a good thing that mountain tourists do not need a lot of luxury, because they’re attracted by nature and not comfort.
“We receive many tourists from the Czech Republic. They go crazy for the Alps. They want to hike and enjoy beautiful sceneries. We have often accommodated without charging them for anything. We have also given them to eat and drink”, says Rifat, a 63 year old who lives in a remote mountain area.
“There are tourists who want to have services here, therefore some people have opened their doors for accommodation. We often cook especially for tourists and we offer them food and drinks which are mostly bio, without chemicals. They love this”. /ibna/