Olympos beach in Antalya, Turkey

Albanians opt for all-inclusive holidays in Turkey

The number of tourists however is lower in comparison with 2019

This summer season charter flights with Albanian tourists going for holidays in destinations in Turkey, didn’t start in May, like last year. Instead, due to the COVID-19 situation, the first flight to Antalya for the 2020 took off on Tuesday (July 14).

Tour operators, taking tourists from Albania to all-inclusive options in different destinations in Turkey, say that despite the pandemic, travelers are expressing their interest to go on holidays abroad. Namely, Turkey.

Sava Bardhi who leads one of the biggest travel agencies in Albania, “Sava Tours”, however says that there are 70% less Albanians o Turkey, in comparison with last year.

Sava Bardhi, head of “Sava Tours”

“Yesterday (on Tuesday) the first charter flight to Antalya with 160 tourists took off. They are mainly families with kids. Charter flights will operate five times a week and nearly 900 tourists are expected to travel, Bardhi says.

Charter flights last year started in May, but this summer season only in July, due to the coronavirus.

“Last year we had just in one day almost 500 tourists leaving Albania with three charter flights. We decided to lower the capacity, thinking that a number of Albanians will not go on holidays. Some of theme don’t have days off, the others are afraid to travel during the pandemic. Also, Albanian diaspora aren’t coming in Albania, as they do each year and from here they take their families for holidays in Turkey,” Sava Bardhi explains.

EU borders shut for Albania, Turkey jumps in to get tourists

The EU borders remain closed for Albanian nationals and neighboring summer destinations such as Italy and Greece, are out of the questions for beachgoers from Albania. But Turkey’s borders are open.

“Turkey is the only possibility for Albanians to travel as other countries’ borders are shut. Also, tourists like Turkey because of the affordable prices, which sometimes are lower than holidaying in the south of Albania. Turkey didn’t lower the prices this summer, in comparison with last year. Because the hotels and resorts are working with limited capacities. They also are strict on implementing the anti COVID-19 protocols”, Sava Bardhi says.

Sava Bardhi, head of “Sava Tours”

For years Antalya in Turkey is one of the favorite destinations for Albanians for the summer holidays.

Tirana International Airport (TIA) says that last year 61,700 traveled to Antalya, while in 2018 the number was at 63,024.

This article is a translation of the Albanian version from Monitor magazine. Published with permission.

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