Albania builds tourism future in Durres

Have you heard of Durres, Albania’s second largest city? No one would blame you, but the country is now trying to do something about it.

Home to the Balkan country’s main port and thriving commercial centre, the city is currently undergoing a renaissance thanks in part to a financial boost from EU funds.

The figures speak for themselves. At the tail end of last year, INUK was reporting the tearing down of 230 illegal buildings in the city. Now, new building permits have soared 500 per cent (Q3 2014), as Albania tries to rejuvenate its coastline and build a tourist hotspot for the future.

Peter Walshe, Marketing Director for Albania’s first high-end resort Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, situated in the Durrës region, explains why this is an exciting time for the area: “Durrës, and the surrounding areas, which include Lalzit Bay to the north, is a wonderful region of Albania. It’s fantastic to see that the government is giving it the dues it deserves by cleaning up not only its coastline but its public image in turn. You wouldn’t necessarily visit central Durrës for the beaches as there are stunning beaches and resorts to the north and south, but a greener Durrës will mean a more appealing location for those looking to holiday and buy property in the area. These positive figures coming out of the region are a testament to the hard work being done by the new government, as well as the potential for investors. This is a very positive development for investors in Albania.”

This spotlight on Albania’s second city is within the context of a positive period for the country as a whole, as it continues to move towards EU status. The latest INSTAT Quarterly Statistical Bulletin has also revealed a huge increase in the value of building permits issued in Albania as a whole, from 6,404,601 lekë in the second quarter of 2014 to 23,370,865 lekë in the third quarter, a massive 265% increase in just three months, whilst the size of permits granted for new buildings grew by 182 per cent year on year, to 584.814m² in Q3 2014.

This growth in the country’s construction industry comes at a time when visitor numbers are reaching new highs: the number of foreign citizens arriving on Albanian shores totalled 1,779,569 in Q3 2014, up 118 per cent on the previous quarter. Who knows? In several years’ time, they could all be heading to Durres.