Albania ended the summer season, the most unusual one due to the coronavirus pandemic. With borders still remaining shut for Albanians to travel abroad, the locals flocked to the beaches all over Albania for their summer holidays.
The country however opened its borders for all international tourists giving them an alternative for their summer holidays and the possibility to explore Albania, this Balkan country.
With EU’s borders closed, this summer many unusual tourists came to Albania. They were from the neighboring countries.
Traditionally, Albanians from Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro come to the Albanian coast for their holidays. But this year saw an increased number of Macedonians and … Serbs.
They would otherwise choose Greece, Croatia or Montenegro. But this year these destinations were out of reach.
With bizarre questions for their fellow citizens who already visited Albania, such as: “Can you find beer there?” “Is it safe?” and “Are you crazy for going to Albania?” Macedonians and Serbs saw a different Albania. Not the country they listened (negative) stories for back home. But instead, a normal country.
Media reporting holidays in Albania
The media and Slavic influencers, such as Maxytravelette, started writing about the summer holidays in Albania.
“Since we are limited in our choices for vacation this year, we spent our summer vacation in Albania. We wanted to do this last year, but we gave up. I was most tempted to go to the south of Albania because it is across Corfu. We heard that it is really nice in the south. However, we decided to visit the northern part of Albania first, more precisely Shengjin, which is the first coastal place and the closest after crossing the border. We spend the second part of the summer in Ksamil, in the south of Albania,” Maxytravelette wrote.
The traditional media in Serbia even wrote about a Serbian entrepreneur in Albania:
Srdjan Gligorijevic (46) from Belgrade traveled around the world for years searching the right place to fulfill his dream, and become the owner of a club. He had no idea that after Miami, Ecuador and Sri Lanka, he would find his happiness in Albania.
“I lived in Miami for seven years, and then I visited Ecuador for a short time and from there went to Sri Lanka, where I stayed for almost two years. After that I returned to Belgrade. But the same goal was in my head: to find a place by the water, where I will open my club,” Gligorijevic says in an interview with “Blic”.
“In Belgrade, I met a friend who knew about my dream and he gave me the idea to go to Albania. Honestly, I was scared at first. But still, I decided to put my friend’s idea into practice, and I set out for Albania. When I stepped on the soil of a country about which I heard a lot of negative things, I was afraid of one question: Where are you coming from!” Srdjan Gligorijevic says.
It wasn’t the way they told me
“When I had to rent an apartment, I came across a man who was very correct, and I had an agreement on everything. I moved into the apartment, and I parked my car with Belgrade license plates nearby. I thought it will be damaged overnight, but to my surprise nothing happened. By then, I already saw that not everything was as they told me; it was totally different,” Srdjan recalls.
Srdjan’s dream became reality overnight
“During a walk around Saranda, where I live and work, I saw a large terrace. It used to be a restaurant. That’s when I came up with the idea to find the owners and rent that place; it was by the sea and it fulfilled all my long-standing dreams. I started looking for the owners of the place and found them. At that point, the bar wasn’t functional, and an investment was needed to fix some things. I agreed to do that and renovated the bar, from which I made a restaurant of our local cuisine”, says Srdjan.
“This country is adorned with beauty and honesty”
“As the days passed, I realized that this country is great, that they don’t care where you come from, but the most important thing is that everyone who comes here is happy and leaves with the best memories. I live in Saranda. Since 2008 here are active works on tourism development; they are not very good at it, but they know how to brighten your day, honor the agreement and entertain you. During the season, the government passed a law banning the music in all bars at 1am, so that tourists can rest, and believe me, everyone respects that. Here, everyone abides by the law”, he says.
“Don’t listen to the stories, you’re welcome here”
“I have an important message for all people from Serbia: please do not believe the rumors; you are all welcome here. Albanians are wonderful people who respect all nations. I live and work here and I know how it is. If everything said is true, would I stay here and start my own business?” Srdjan Gligorijevic tells “Blic”.