The Albanian government has identified tourism as a key economic sector, touting its potential to spur development of the entire country. Located in the Mediterranean region, Albania could well represent Europe’s last tourism “secret.”
Albania has a diverse topography, including mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes, and beaches. The country offers many opportunities for exploration of cultural heritage and archaeological sites that date back to pre-Roman and Greek times. Amphitheaters, castles, Roman cities, monasteries, and ancient churches are among the archeological points of interest that Albania has to offer, some of which are UNESCO protected sites.
Albania’s 450-km-long Adriatic coastline is one of the country’s best assets and offers numerous investment opportunities. The coast, which stretches from the Adriatic Sea in the north to the Ionian Sea in the south, is underdeveloped and generally lacks Western-standard beach resorts. Given the rising influx of Western tourists, demand is growing for high-end resorts, particularly in the south. Albania also holds great potential for mountain tourism.
After peaking in 2019, the number of tourist arrivals to Albania decreased in 2020 due to the global disruption of tourism industry following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, only 2.65 million of foreign visitors came Albania compared to 6,4 million in the previous year. A growing number of U.S. citizens also visit Albania, particularly the southern coastal region, as part of day-excursions from Corfu, Greece. In 2018, 119,200 U.S. citizens entered Albania.
- Leisure Boats
- Hotel franchises
- Upscale hotel accommodations
- Design, architectural, and, engineering services
- Construction materials.
The government aims to support development of tourist resorts, especially along the southern coastline. Hotel franchise opportunities are also present, particularly in tourist areas with new properties opening in recent years with agreements with Hilton, Radisson, Movenpick, and others. Agreements are also in place for future locations for Marriot and Hyatt.
The sector also offers opportunities to develop marinas. Construction work has already started for a marina near Saranda while projects for two marina, one in Vlore and one North of Durres are in the planning stage. The new tourist port of Durres, a $2.5 billion investment from the UAE Emaar Group, aims to transform the port into an important destination for the whole Mediterranean Region. It represents significant business opportunities because besides the port comprises an area of 800,000 square meters for residential complexes, hotels, offices, etc. Exports of boats and small yachts also represent promising opportunities. In an effort to promote the sea tourism, in July 2020, government has exempted leisure boats from 20% VAT payment.
Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Albanian Construction Portal
The National Coast Agency
Albanian Tourism Agency