Future of Environmental Sustainable Tourism in Albania with UNWTO
Tirana, Albania, April 10, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The Ministry of Tourism and Environment of the Republic of Albania in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) under the special care of the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Edi Rama, and Secretary – General of the UNWTO, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, organized the International Tourism Forum “The Future of Environmental Sustainable Tourism in Albania (FESTA)” which was held from the 3rd to the 5th of April 2023, in Tirana, Albania.
UNWTO Secretary-General Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili urged the Balkan countries to join together an form a single tourism destination in order to more effectively compete with large markets such as China, the United States or the Gulf countries. UNWTO will continue to work closely with Albania to ensure the enormous potential is fully realized both here and across the wider region.
“We are not rivals. We are complimentary to each other,” said Albanian Tourism Minister Mirela Kumbaro.
With 450 kilometers (280 miles) of coastline and 300 days of sunshine per year Albania offers a diverse range of attractions ranging from beaches to mountain resorts, as well as great food and culture.
Tourism and agriculture are two main revenue resources for Albania, one of Europe’s poorest countries. Tourism generated 17% of GDP in 2021, with arrivals increasing 33% last year to 7.5 million people. Kumbaro said 59% more tourists have come in the first quarter this year compared to last year.
Albania enjoyed one of the strongest increases in international tourist arrivals in the region, outperforming all the European Union countries in 2022 with a 19% rise in visitors.
On his first official visit to Albania, Secretary-General Pololikashvili reaffirmed his vision for a tourism transformed around the priorities of jobs, education and investments, and met both Prime Minister Rama and from Minister of Tourism Mirela Kumbaro to explore common goals and potential areas of greater collaboration. In the area of investments, the two parties identified the possibility of producing a new set of Investment Guidelines for Albania with the aim of supporting tourism projects focused on sustainability.
In the framework of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR), together with the Albanian Agency for the Strategic Program and Aid Coordination (SASPAC), the forum included the most important topics within the strategic policies of the Albanian Government and UNWTO.
The high-level UNWTO delegation joined tourism leaders from across the region for the Future of Environmental and Sustainable Tourism in Albania (FESTA, Tirana, 3-5 April). Themed “Harnessing the power of South Eastern Europe through regional cooperation in tourism”, UNWTO will emphasize the vital importance of jobs, education and investment to build a more sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.
FESTA is platform for a range of panels and discussions amongst policymakers, entrepreneurs, operators of hospitality and all those who contribute to the shaping of this vital industry.
The Forum thematics was focused on the current trends of sustainable travel, using insights, while exploring the transformational power of the travel industry and jointly strategise how to move forward in the road ahead.
Being among important actors who are at the forefront of the profession, was also a great networking experience among all attendees, against a background of Albanian food, culture, music, and hospitality.
The forum explored the transformational power of the travel industry and jointly strategized how to move forward in the road ahead. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in discussions and panels on the future of tourism and gain insights into where the industry is headed. This was valuable for all professionals who want to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly.