Albania welcomes more overseas visitors

New figures from the country’s national statistics office, INSTAT, shows that foreign visitor numbers jumped 24.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter of 2013.

703,980 of the 815,196 foreign tourists visiting in Q2 2014 arrived by land, an increase of some 32.9 per cent on the same period the previous year. Visitors arriving by air numbered 86,929, an additional 11  per cent on the year before.

This growth heralds an exciting time for the country, proving that it has much to offer all kinds of visitors, as Peter Walshe, Marketing Director for Albania’s first high-end resort Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa explains:

“Albania has emerged from a history of communist rule and political instability to a present time of growing prosperity, stable government and hugely encouraging visitor numbers, looking towards a future of EU accession (the country has been confirmed a candidate), bolstered GDP and increasing tourism. And what a country it is – beautiful scenery, close proximity to Italy, easily accessible direct from the UK, a Mediterranean climate, friendly people… Albania has a great deal to offer.”

“This is all very good news for those investing in the country, whether it is as part of big business or buying into the growing property market,” he adds.

Walshe’s mention of business is certainly on the mark. The World Bank has recently released their Ease of Doing Business Ranking index, which scores 189 nations on how hard it is to run a company in their country. Last year, Albania ranked 108th, yet within the space of one year, the nation has risen 40 places to stand at 68th.

Indeed, the Albanian government has been making a concerted push to support Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), lowering company registration fees, easing the granting of construction permits and implementing the new law on territory planning all helping to make the country more attractive to those looking to do business.

Yet it is not just business purposes that are drawing more and more people to Albania’s shores, the rise in visitor numbers is also largely due to more and more people holidaying in this corner of Europe, according to INSTAT. Growing an impressive 106.4 per cent in just one year (from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014), the number of foreign tourists arriving in Albania on holiday has increased from 95,335 to 196,813.

Walshe concludes: “Figures can only continue to move in one direction.”