Tourism in Albania is troubled by Covid-19

Tourism in Albania isn’t recovering. The summer tourist season in peril

Further restrictions due to Covid-19 are complicating the recovery of tourism in Albania.

INSTAT data show that 185,300 foreign visitors came to Albania in January 2021, about 64,100 less than the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, in total, including the Albanian citizens, the entry reached 405,700 from 693,900 recorded in January last year, Top Channel TV reports.

Anyhow, the number of tourists from Switzerland and Kosovo increased, by about 10,000 last month compared to January 2020. The total is 87,600 visitors. The number of visitors from other countries decreased.

Travel operators warn about a pessimistic situation of tourism in Albania.

The president of the Association of Tour Operators Besnik Vathi, says 2021 brings an nonexistent spring and a summer season. There is no contract sealed with foreign tour operators.

“Albania has three travel seasons. The spring season that in 2021 is nonexistent. The summer season is in danger. Even if there is an optimistic situation, having a successful summer season is impossible. We cannot expect to have a successful one with 50-60% planned tourists. Even this is not happening, since we don’t have contracts or reservations,” Besnik Vathi says.

Due to the lack of foreign tourists, most travel agencies have suspended their work. Since last March they don’t have any remittances.

“About 80% of these businesses have either suspended their activity or work without having any profit. They are keeping the staff to not lose the 15-20 years of investments. There are dozens of businesses that have no activity. Nothing saves us today. We have lost about 70-80% of the employees,” Besnik Vathi says.

Lockdowns in the country and travel restrictions abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic hindered the traveling of Albanians. In January 2021, about 271,600 Albanians went abroad. The number in January 2020 was 531,000.

2020 was bad for the tourism industry

Las year, Tirana International Hotel, in the heart of the Albanian capital shut down temporarily due Covid-19 pandemic.

The management says that from last year’s earthquake until now the hotel remained open, but with heavy losses. Employees’ salaries and maintenance fees can’t be covered anymore.

Hotel Tirana is one of the largest in the Albanian capital. It has 170 rooms and it is one of the largest providers of conference services.

 Due to this crisis, earlier in 2020 Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Tirana closed its doors, more than a year of operation.

Hilton Garden Inn is the first international brand in the Albanian market after the departure of Sheraton at the end of 2017.

Marriott’s first hotel in the country will open in 2021, according to an initial plan at the same place where the Tirana’s new stadium, Air Albania is located.

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