“The Ministry of Tourism in Albania has made public the data of tourist inflows for the period January-July 2023, which are over 5.1 million visitors, exceeding by 31% those of the same period of 2022.”
https://turizmi.gov.al – 11/08/2023
The summer of 2023 has filled the cities and villages of Albania with foreign visitors and the news chronicles with the great exaltation of the constantly growing numbers, but can we call only the record in quantity a victory? It is useless to continue with the old excuse that we have little experience and are still learning. We cannot leave our best interests to the future by neglecting them now, when we have a lot to lose, such as our people, to start with.
Not later than TODAY, is a good day to objectively review the situation, with its advantages and disadvantages, and to have a correct answer if we should worry about the future of Albanian tourism or continue clapping in ignorance.
The Pros of Albania’s Inbound Tourism Boom
In a time of crisis and inflation, this is what we need. Tourism has become a significant contributor to Albania’s economy. The influx of visitors has created jobs in various sectors, including hospitality, transportation, and entertainment.
To accommodate the growing number of tourists, new hotels, bars and restaurants are constantly opening. A large part of the emigrants who have returned to Albania have invested in tourism, bringing to the market not only their money but also their experience. The government has invested in road networks and public services. This not only benefits tourists but also enhances the overall quality of life for residents.
For a country that has suffered total closure for half a century and many prejudices that still continue, now Albanians have the opportunity to show their lifestyle, values, traditions, origin and what makes them proud in this country. This intercultural interaction can promote tolerance and understanding, contributing to a more understanding society.
With increased tourism, there is also a growing awareness of the need to protect Albania’s natural beauty. Many foreign tourists have become viral on social media by publishing videos of garbage on the street, a fact that has brought this phenomenon to the attention of local authorities to take more care & action. Conservation efforts have been initiated to preserve the country’s pristine landscapes and unique ecosystems.
This is one face of the consequences of the large influx of tourists in recent years, but just as there are many aspects to be happy about, on the other hand, it is about time to face some problems that today can probably be ignored, but tomorrow they can become an inevitable problem for the lives of residents and cause a plot twist to the tourism sector in the country.
The Cons of Albania’s Inbound Tourism Boom
Popular tourist destinations in Albania, such as Saranda and Ksamil, have experienced overcrowding during peak seasons. This can lead to environmental degradation, strained resources, and a decline in the quality of the tourist experience.
As demand for accommodations and services surges, prices can and has increased, making it less affordable for both locals and budget-conscious travellers. This may eventually lead to an imbalance in the tourism sector.
An influx of tourists can sometimes dilute or alter a destination’s culture. The commercialization of traditional practices and the catering to tourist preferences may erode the authenticity of the local way of life.
While efforts are being made to protect the environment, a surge in tourism can still put pressure on natural resources, leading to issues like pollution, deforestation, and habitat destruction.
Should We Be Worried?
Well, if there is a risk of economic instability, which affects the lives of Albanians,
- an unjustified increase in prices during the summer season that affects not only tourists but also residents,
- if the streets are filled with garbage due to the 10 times increase in the number of people, as in the case of Ksamil , which worries everyone and spoils the image of this destination,
- if due to the influx, customer service neglects the requests of visitors and offers poor service to many others,
- if for the sake of increasing numbers, commercialism increases and we are not oriented towards originality , the quality and authenticity of the Albanian product,
- and if the Albanians who have inherited this country, feel it impossible to relax on its blessed shores, feel unwelcomed in several places,
I’d say that we have too many things to worry about.
What to do next?
In the next days, we will publish tips and advices for tourist product providers and tourists in Albania, in order to offer and receive the best experience during their work and holiday.
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