IBNA Special Report
Tirana, May 15, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism is holding a wide process of meetings with dependant institutions and other ministries to discuss the Strategy for Development of Tourism 2014-2020.
Discussions have unveiled the opinions of the representatives of different stakeholders, making sure that this strategy will be inclusive and has real and visionary objectives.
Debates have taken place in the recent days in Berat and Vlora, while in Lezha, the debate mainly focused on rural tourism.
Vice minister of Urban Development and Tourism, Alfred Dalipi says that the Strategy document is very important, as it acts as orientation for the industry of tourism and investors.
For the vice minister of Urban Development and Tourism, Alfred Dalipi, this strategy is of a special importance, in circumstances when the internal market has been developed in an disoriented way and in a chaotic manner up until today.
According to Dalipi, the strategy guarantees, through regulating mechanisms, the development of the industry of tourism and a clear role for all public institutions.
General Director of Tourism at the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism, Sonia Popa talks about the novelties that this strategy brings. She says that the main novelty is the full model of the management of tourist destinations and the framework that guarantees the quality of the product.
“The basic principle of the strategy include sustainable development, orientation toward the market, whereby tourist destination is considered to be at the core of development”, says Popa.
Seen by drafters as a work platform for the central and local government, the strategy will be accompanied by the Law on Tourism, which harmonizes the work of the government in the domain of tourism.
The strategy reflects “2020 Vision”, bearing in mind the knowledge on Albania, as a tourist destination in the Mediterranean Coasts, with a competitive geographic position and tourist resources in the regional market of tourism.
Minister of Urban Development and Tourism, Eglantina Gjermeni says that Albania has now entered a historical process, as far as the domain of urban planning is concerned.
“For the first time, we have undertaken the incentive to draft some very strategic plans, such as the National General Plan; Integrated Cross Sector Plan of the Coast and Durrana”, says Gjermeni.
According to her, all these national plans will orientate and determine the vision of the urban, social, economic and environment sustainable development for Albania in the 10-20 years.
Minister Gjermeni says that this strategy stops at the immediate need of Albania to secure a consolidated position in the regional and international market and will act as a regulatory and inclusive mechanism for the industry of tourism, public institutions and other actors interested to be part of the tourism market.
“This document is the foundation stone of the development of new tourist products and offers the possibility to promote local products, which turn Albania into a unique and attractive destination”.
“Our main scope is to turn Albania into a preferred destination in the Mediterranean offer of international tourism markets, creating a new image for tourist Albania, which goes beyond the offer of sun and sand and by focusing in what is unique in Albania”, says Gjermeni.
The document includes the categorization of the types of tourism based on the areas that offer development opportunities in this industry, in order to increase domestic tourism, increase the number of foreign visitors and the length of their stay in Albania.
Experts of tourism say that all of this offers possibilities of development in tourism, the creation of more jobs, more incomes for the Albanian economy and Albanian citizens and as a result, a higher level of wellbeing. According to them, tourism offers great possibilities for the economic development of the country and will act as the priority sector for the encouragement and development of undeveloped rural areas, by diversifying agricultural economy.
Tourism today in Albania is in miserable conditions. There are no resorts which meet the standards of the neighboring countries such as Greece and Turkey. Hotel prices are high and they offer very few services. Many people don’t see why they must pay more to receive less. A young man from Skopje says something meaningful: “I have spent holidays in Greece and Turkey. To spend a week in a luxurious resort, I have spent no more than 350 Euros, and this included accommodation, food, beverages, outings and other services. This concept doesn’t exist in Albania. If one wants to spend holidays in the Albanian beautiful coast, one must seriously take into account the fact that a room in the south, in Saranda or Dhermi is no less than 80 Euros a night or 600 Euros a week, and this only includes a modest breakfast. One must pay up to 50 Euros to stay on the sand and then there’s food, beverages, outings, etc. The way tourism functions in Albania, doesn’t make me want to come back again”. /ibna/
Photo: Albanian beach