KeywordsWorld Heritage Tourism Development Total Employment Informal Economy World Heritage Site
Albania has a diverse population and cultural heritage. The area was controlled by the Byzantine Roman until the seventh century Slavic migrations, followed by the Bulgarian Empire in the ninth century and subsequently by the Serbian Empire until the fourteenth century. The Ottomans controlled most of Albania from 1431 to 1912, when the country was declared an independent state. It was occupied by Fascist Italy and then by Nazi Germany during World War II and, after its liberation, the country became a Communist state until the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. As a legacy of this history, the country has a significant cultural and archaeological heritage, including UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Tourism data are poor. While there is a significant potential, currently tourist numbers are low and mainly from neighboring countries (INSTAT 2014). The offering is disorganized and services must be improved. Lonely Planet ranked the country as the number one destination to visit in 2011. Climate, unspoiled amenities, strategic location in the Mediterranean, and a variety of territories are considered as the main strengths (Messina 2013), while attracting more tourist flows and increasing tourism employment are the main opportunities.
In 2007, the government instituted tourism laws and formulated a development strategy (MoTCYS 2007a, b). The European University for Tourism was established in 2008, and the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism recently issued its 2014–2020 strategy for tourism development. Stakeholder and government interest and investment in tourism are growing and, thanks to the availability of more European Union funds, the industry appears to have a bright future. In 2013, direct contribution of Albanian tourism to GDP was 4.8 %, while the total was 16.7 % (WTTC 2014). The industry directly supported 41,000 jobs (4.3 % of total employment) and in total supported 146,500 jobs (or 15.2 % of total employment). Issues for future research should concentrate on policies and on human resources as key factors for tourism development.
- INSTAT 2014 Arrivals of Foreign Citizens by Mode of Travel 2013. Tirana: Instituti i Statistikes.Google Scholar
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- MoTCYS 2007a Law No. 9734. Tirana: Tourism Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sport of Albania.Google Scholar
- MoTCYS 2007b Tourism Strategy 2007–2013. Tirana: Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sport of AlbaniaGoogle Scholar
- WTTC 2014 Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014, Albania. London: World Travel and Tourism Council.Google Scholar