For a truly original and unspoiled vacation spot, Albania is hard to beat. This tiny Balkan state is gaining popularity as a vacation spot thanks to its reputation as a hip and exotic travel location. From a record high of 6.4 million in 2019, it welcomed a staggering 7.5 million tourists last year, more than twice its population.
However, the Albanian government does not want to see a surge in tourists. As a result, they are shifting their attention to sustainable tourism in an effort to differentiate themselves from rivals. Albania's leaders want to rebrand the country as a high-end "quality" destination by appealing to new markets, moving away from the traditional sun and sea model provided by its Mediterranean neighbors. Albania's spectacularly varied scenery of mountains, forests, and coastline are being used to promote agritourism and ecotourism.
"Sustainable, environmentally-friendly travel is what we're after. We don't want people to travel only to certain spots; instead, we'd prefer they visit places of historical and cultural significance, restaurants, outdoor activities like hiking and rafting, and fields so they can spend time in nature "Minister for Tourism in Albania, Mirela Kumbaro.
Northern Albania's Alpine region, which includes the Accursed Mountains, has excellent prospects for agricultural and ecological tourism. There have been increasing attempts to attract the kind of tourism that can enrich regions that stay among the poorest in Europe, and international development agencies have weighed in on the matter.
The 273-kilometer-long Vjosa River, often called the "last wild river of Europe," has been receiving a lot of notice recently after Prime Minister Edi Rama promised to create a national park out of the basin that includes the river and its tributaries. Kumbaro said she would apply to have the full Vjosa basin designated as a "Unesco biosphere reserve" in order to increase tourism there. She mentioned the need to revitalize villages through rural tourism. Because of the paranoia of Enver Hoxha, the dictator who ruled Shqipria - the land of the eagle - for over 40 years, Albania was allowed to become an environmental paradise, home to more than a thousand animal and plant species. The Vjosa, which runs undammed and unimpeded through the country from its source in Greece, is emblematic of this.
Albania has been free of Stalinist control for less than three decades. In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, no other country in the former communist group in eastern Europe was subjected to the same level of repression or isolation. Kumbaro, who worked as a professor before entering politics, now hopes to free her nation by welcoming foreign visitors. Why not make Albania the destination of your next vacation to explore its unexplored treasures?