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Tourism is considered as one of the most important sectors for development and economic growth of a country. Albania has the appropriate potential for the development of this sector in all its specters such as coastal, mountainous, cultural, historic, curative etc. The main purpose of this study is to present the development of Tourism in Albania throughout 2000–2013 and focus mostly on cultural Tourism. As information source, we have used official ones such as INSTAT and WTTC. Statistic indicators represented in this study give a clear idea of the way Tourism in Albania has made during these years. An analysis of the factors that have positive and negative effects in Albania Tourism sector has its importance in reaching the necessary conclusions and recommendations for the future.
The Development Of Tourism in Albania And The Importance Of
Cultural Tourism
Enkela Caca1*, Christos Ap. Ladias2,Antoneta Polo3
1Department of Economics, University of Gjirokastra, Albania , *
2Department of Economic and Regional Development Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences,
1Department of Economics, University of Gjirokastra, Albania , neta
The Development Of Tourism in Albania And The Importance Of
Cultural Tourism
Tourism is considered as one of the most important sectors for development and economic growth
of a country. Albania has the appropriate potential for the development of this sector in all its
specters such as coastal, mountainous, cultural, historic, curative etc.The main purpose of this
study is to present the development of Tourism in Albania throughout 2000-2013 and focus mostly
on cultural Tourism. As information source, we have used official ones such as INSTAT and
WTTC. Statistic indicators represented in this study give a clear idea of the way Tourism in
Albania has made during these years. An analysis of the factors that have positive and negative
effects in Albania Tourism sector has its importance in reaching the necessary conclusions and
recommendations for the future.
Keywords: Tourism, Albania, Cultural Tourism, statistical data, INSTAT.
JEL Classification:L83,
1. Introduction
Tourism is one of the massive phenomena, which includes from year to year millions of
people all over the world, thus constituting one of the branches with economic importance that
provides touristically advanced countries with millions of dollars income.
Mediterranean countries, in which Albania is included as well, have shown a continuous
interest on Tourism development from which have profited large income and which in turn has
affected the prosperity of popularity, their economic strengthening as well as further development
of Tourism. After 1990, new conditions for Tourism development were created as a result of
economy transformation, from centralized to market economy, establishing in this way
possibilities of encouraging and advancing private sector, reviving other sectors of economy close
to Tourism, trade relationships between Albania and other countries etc.
The purpose of this study is to present the Tourism development in Albania with its strong
and weak points. The methodology used in this study is based on secondary sources of data
obtained from INSTAT and WTTC, 2000-2013. Through representation of many statistical
indicators, we assess the path that has followed the Tourism development in Albania during these
The study is structured in several sections. The first section focuses on the importance of
Tourism development in Albania as a developing country. In the second section, there are
presented important statistical indicators in accordance with touristic activity in Albania. The
third section is concentrated on Albania cultural Tourism and its features. The last but not least
section focuses on the presentation of the factors that affect the Albanian Tourism progress and
then recommendations and conclusions end this study.
2. The Importance of Tourism in Albania
Tourism in general plays a very important role on developing countries such as the Albania.
Tourism nowadays is considered as a priority and main branch, which will provide the economic
development of the country and the improvement of Albanian popularity’s lifestyle welfare.
The economic growth of the country, based on Tourism development, is already an
undisputable fact. The income from Tourism is immediate and of high value. According to
estimations from The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) about Albania, the direct
contribution of Tourism to GDP in 2013 was 68.1 milliard Leke or 4,8%, whereas the total
contribution to economy was 239,8 milliard Leke or 16,7%.
As far as new work places are concerned, the Tourism sector has directly offered 41.000 job
vacancies or 4,3% of its total number, whereas indirectly it has offered 146.500 job vacancies or
15,2%. In this case, we can realize the important role of Tourism in social aspect. Tourism sector
offers job vacancies that require qualified and specialized employees. In conditions of Albania,
where industry is slowly progressing and a low number of work force is present, where the
phenomena of rural work abandonment is becoming more and more pronounced, the employment
in Tourism, where the income is higher than in other sectors, means a continuous appeal to
Albanian youth. In this way, Tourism manages to decrease unemployment which is obviously a
concerning phenomena with considerable measures in Albanian society.
Albania reveals sufficient potentials to the development of activities and touristic products
of different kinds such as: cultural, mountaneous, coastal, curative Tourism etc and this increases
the role of Tourism development in our country. The development of Tourism also creates the
possibility of fading out the barriers and obstacles and in bridging the co-operation among
peoples. Being an isolated country for a long time, Albania through Tourism, offers to foreigners
the possibility to know and appreciate its culture and history. Albanians in this way can get to
know and appreciate from close quarters the most important achievements of world culture. With
the possibility of entering European Union, Albania has the chance to demonstrate its cultural and
historic potential (MDGIF 2010).
In Albania, there are many curative centers for different diseases such as rheumatism,
breathing, heart problems etc. Near these centers, there are specialized teams of doctors that
provide you with service and are in disposal of clients who usually suffer from various diseases
and try to bring them back to normal life. Such centers are Glina spring, Postenat springs, SPAs
of Elbasan, Peshkopi etc.
Tourism has a great importance in entertaining, relaxing and enjoing the time with the
tendency to increase. In Albania, there are limitless spaces for accomplishing these physical and
spiritual necessities. Even to Albanian society, the same as to nowadays industrially developed
societies, Tourism is considered as an important economic and social factor that affects the
evolution of society. A developed Tourism creates the possibility of relax, entertainment and
enjoying the time. On the other hand, economic sector has a considerable importance to our
country. Tourism nowadays is not a luxury and privilege of specific people, but rather a physical
and spiritual necessity of all members of modern present day society. In order to achieve the
desired level, the Albanian state and private sector are both contributing. The private sector is
contributing with great investments in Tourism. Tourism is an important branch of economy, the
income of which would affect its development through investments.
3. The Development of Tourism in Albania, Statistical Data (2000-2013)
The methodology of this study is based on secondary source of data, provided by INSTAT-
Albania and The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) from 2000 to 2013. The used
information will help to understand better what has happened to Albanian Tourism. The objective
of Tourism statistics is to publish statistical information with quality over Tourism and
harmonized with European standards according to directive of Council Nr.95/57/EC over
gathering statistical information in Tourism branch. In this study, we based on important
statistical indicators through which it is to be clearly expressed the way that Tourism in Albania
has attended.
Table 1. Arrivals of Foreigners and Albanians in hotels (in thousands), Albania 2000 –
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total 165 170 171 111 75 113 130 171 212 236 255 318 250 223
Foreigners 32 34 36 61 34 57 63 67 56 65 74 136 150 118
Albanians 133 136 135 50 41 56 67 104 156 171 181 182 100 105
Source: INSTAT
Table 2. Arrivals of Foreigners by means of Transport (in thousands), Albania 2000 –
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total 317 353 470 558 645 748 937 1,126 1,419 1,856 2,418 2,932 3,514 3,256
By air 72 90 80 87 103 128 150 182 206 227 246 267 273 314
By sea 79 102 111 120 138 130 141 162 189 215 216 191 180 182
land 166 160 279 351 404 490 646 782 1,024 1,414 1,956 2,474 3,061 2,760
Source: INSTAT
The statistics of Tourism are treated in two directions. One direction is the capacity and frequency
of accommodation units and on the other side there are entries and exits of citizens, whether
foreign or Albanian according to border points and means of transport, entries of foreign citizens
according to purpose and state.
If we would refer to Tab.2, the number of incomers in Albania has had a considerable increase
from 2000 to 2013. Moreover, if we would refer to their spread, according to the way of their
travelling choice, the largest part of them have chosen terrestrial means. Foreigners that landed in
our country are mostly from European region rather than others. This fact is also presented in
tab.3.In 3.255.988 people, 2.963.583 of them were from Europe, especially from South Europe
(2.467.195 people).
Table 3. Arrivals of foreign citizens according to regions (in thousands), Albania 2000 –
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total 317,1
I Africa 244 66 75 233 174 174 220 319 317 2 11 3,193 432 1,057 919
II America 13,97
151,881 60,978 59,945 61,878 70,291 73,810 73,291
Asia and
1,932 2,035 2,901 3,805 4,288 5,444 7,592 9,674 15,419 28,433 11,361 17,418 19,689 23,628
IV. Middle
East 1,439 1,074 752 896 775 837 1,068 1,262 1,115 1,313 1,247 1,178 1,524 3,944
V. South
Asia 355 309 351 424 410 354 376 376 484 661 764 909 1,135 961
VI. Europe 295,1
6,533 7,021 7,779 11,13
152,589 60,038 60,880 63,722 82,418 90,643 112,333
- Northen
668,655 79,553 79,931 85,463 109,924 117,434 119,016
- Southern
84 830,802 1,058,0
- Western
785,207 101,616 116,030 141,187 186,531 200,462 210,845
- East/
ean Evuope
9,264 9,872 10,34
023,722 35,957 35,639 36,203 39,227 46,198 54,194
VII Other
4,053 16,44
41,877 4,422 3,007 28,18
32,027 5,651 252,337 99,936 103,058 202,340 189,662
Source: INSTAT
From the data represented in Tab.1, it is clearly seen that during 2000-2013 there has been a
positive trend in the number of incomers in Albanian hotels. In 2000, there have been only 32
000, whereas in 2013 there have been 118 000. For each year, there has been a greater flow of
foreigners in Albanian hotels.
Figure 1. Arrivals of foreign citizens according to regions,Albania 2013(INSTAT)
3,000,000 I Africa 919
II America 73291
III.East Asia and Pacic
IV.Middle East 3944
V. South Asia 961
VI. Europe 2963583
VII Other countries not
specied 189662
Figure 2. Hotels capacity, Albania 2000- 2013( Source: INSTAT)
Bad places
The capacity of Albanian hotels has had an increase from 2000 to 2013 as it is represented in
diagram of Figure 2. The above analysis of data reach the conclusion that: we have a significant
increase of Tourism sector in Albania, as far as the period 2000-2013 is concerned.
4. Cultural Tourism in Albania
Cultural Tourism in Albania as a profitable activity by making use of cultural monuments,
functions for a long period. (Xhaja et al, 2013) Albania has an excellent Tourism development
potential. Many cultural resource attractions are of very high quality and would likely welcome
high numbers of tours if they were more widely publicized within target populations (Marku
2014). Archeology, inheritance and culture are identified as strong general aspects of Albania in
different studies carried out with visitors and travel industry by foreign markets.
Table 4. Visitors in coultural atraction 2008-2013
Visitors 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Foreigners 94,142 253,002 291,542 265,103 1,301,479 245,703
Albanians 65,347 81,991 93,716 107,836 131,254 109,771
Totali 159,489 334,993 385,258 372,939 1,432,733 355,474
Source: INSTAT
The figures of foreign west tourists that visit cultural attractions, even with an increase of 15%-
25% per year, are very low (2008-2012); in 2013 they have had a considerable decrease in
109.771 tours. Meanwhile, the exhibition of Skanderbeg sword and his helmet in National
Museum in November 2012 attracted a large number of 950.000 of local visitors. Tab.4 gives an
overview of the tours from local and foreign tourists in cultural attractions. Being as important as
the geographic-natural offer, cultural property has the advantage of being non-seasonal;
convenient to be visited throughout the year. Some main issues represent the potential of
Albanian cultural property:
Archeologic sites and objects which bear evidences of ancient residence and development of our
country.Such sites are: Butrinti, Apoloni, Dyrrah, Antigone, Bylis, Amantia etc. as well as many
unique archeologic objects found everywhere in our country.These sites and objects represent a
special attraction to many tourists, whether local or foreign ones. In historic settlements, there are
found basilics, the most important of which are: large basilics of Butrint, basilics of Arapaj, Bylis,
Finiq, Durres which are interesting to be visited. Basing on these values, many of them are
transformed into monumental centers under government protection and there are even those such
as Butrint which is under protection of UNESCO, while Butrint and its surroundings, because of
its archeologic and natural values, are declared National Parks.
Castles and fortresses throughout Albania territory, which belong to Middle Age period, serve as
witnesses of Albanian peoples’ resistance against foreign invasions. Such objects are numerous in
Albania but remain to be emphasized such fortresses: fortress of Berati, Gjirokastra, Kruja,
Shkodra, Petralba, Stelush, the fortresses of Ali Pashe Tepelena in Tepelena, Libohova, Porto
Palermo, the fortress of Petrela etc. Thus holding an important place in touristic itinerary in
Albania by various tourists that pay considerable interest in knowing their history. Some of these
fortresses (Berat, Kruje, Shkoder) create great possibilities of visiting them at any time and
revealing evidence of their history and residents.
Cult objects in our country such as: churches, mosques, small mosques etc, despite their religious
importance, represent interest to be visited by different foreign and local tourists. These objects
bear their existence thanks to three main religious beliefs (Islamism, Orthodox, and Catholicism)
and they are a good indicator of how different religious beliefs can co-live in peace. Tourists can
visit these cults, without the slightest problem, knowing in this way their specific architectures,
construction history and function as well.
A great number of churches are decorated by works of the greatest Albanian painters such as
David Selenica who painted the church of Saint Nikolle in Voskopoje, brothers from Korca
Kostandin and Athanas known for their works in Korce, Myzeqe. Kostandin Shpataraku is known
for his works in miniature of icons. The mosques: Muradies (Vlore), Mosque of Lead (Berat),
mosque of Ethem Bey (Tirane) etc, are also known.
Ethnographic objects of culture, residence and living in Albania cover almost every region, even
villages and cities and they offer their peculiarities of different ethnographic objects: of living,
dressing, feeding etc. All these objects constitute at the same time important motifs of touristic
movement to know, study and experience them. Tourists show special interest on the way of
dressing, the study of lifestyle and food in general of different regions around the world.
Meanwhile, the countries or regions that possess their depictions in this field, take advantage on
them in order to attract as many tourists as possible. Based on this importance, there are trades,
museums or fairs, which generally and in organized manner present to tourists different
ethnographic objects that the culture of a country or a specific geographic region offers.
5. The Factors that Affect the Tourism Development in Albania
Albania has a favourable geographic position because it is situated in the crossing of the
shortest roads that pass from West Mediterranean to Balkan and Small Asia and it controls the
passing through sea channel of Otranto. Geographic position as a geographic-natural offer, plays
an important role in Tourism development of a country and especially of Albania where other
elements such as relief, climate, waters, flora and fauna and historic-cultural objects, constitute
the primer touristic potential.
Nevertheless, Albania has some problems in infrastructure as well. Recently, there have
been great investments in roads but investments in roads and electricity have not yet been
completed according to requests of time to have an advanced and elite Tourism.
The sector of Tourism in Albania proceeds under the existence of favourable and non-
favourable conditions. In order to have a clearer idea about this topic, we will identify some of
the main factors that define these conditions, both those with positive and negative effect.
-The factors that have positive effect in the progress of Tourism sector in Albania are: the
favourable geographic and touristic position, vast coastal line, magnificient natural landscape,
archeologic property, ancient cities, Albanian’s hospitality, young population, the high percentage
of working force, high level of education, mastery of foreign languages, integration of Balkan
countries and soon the integration of Albania in European Union, the progress of information
technology, etc.
-The factors that have negative effect in the progress of Tourism sector in Albania are: the
difficult conditions of infrastructure, uncertainties in the legal framework, the backwardness of
the country, the continous problems of property, inproper management of touristic centers,
welcoming areas with inappropriate conditions, the memorandum of speedboats despite the
security of trafficking also affect the traditional Tourism “sun and sand”, global crisis,
dependence of Tourism on foreign capital, lack in touristic competition within the country, strong
competition with neighbouring countries and further ones, political insecurity that often threatens
the country and region, etc.
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
The main purpose of this study was to present the progress of Tourism in our country and its
importance in the economy. The sector of Tourism in Albania appears in its all spectrum such as
the coastal, mountaneous, cultural, curative Tourism, etc. Through statistic data, we represented
the positive trend of the increase of this sector during 2000-2013. The number of tourists that had
visited Albania during this period had been more and more increasing. The largest part of them
had been from South Europe. An important part of the study was dedicated to cultural Tourism
and all its characteristics. Various advantages accompany the cultural Tourism in Albania such as
geographic position, cultural, archeologic and historic property, etc, which have been mentioned
during this study. However, the further growth of this sector and competition with other countries
is prevented from a number of factors: weak infrastructure, lack of investments in this sector,
economic crisis along with decrease of remittances, etc. In order to have a sustainable
development of Tourism in Albania, a number of measures have to be taken.
Improvemen of accommodation offered in main cultural destinations. The capacity of structures
with 3 or 4 stars increases through improvement of existing structures and construction of new
hotels, growth of small, traditional and rural structures in cultural destinations.
Increaing of investments in infrastructure, marketing, human resources, management of natural
areas, preservation of historic places, etc is to be considered.
Products must be authentic Albanian to make a difference from our neighbours.
It must also be considered the creation of practice of regular appointments from interested parties,
administration and interested people to discuss the issue of Tourism in cultural destinations.
Establishment or improvement of structures such as: The Touristic Information Center (TIC).
The creation and commitment of training and certification system about touristic guides and
guides in touristic points that must be planned.
Activities must be planned, necessary measures and investments that each touristic attraction and
cultural offer to accomplish the required standards and willingness to enter the trade.
The composition of instruments and measures in supporting investments, such as specific
conditions of credit, direct financing in profitable investments of facilities, specific conditions in
supporting the business of Tourism must be intended.
The improvement of marketing and sale, the creation of characteristic trades with local products,
the support of relation between businesses of Tourism and local products must also be taken into
Marku, A. (2014). Tourism Strategy of Albania. European Scientific Journal/Special Edition,Vol.2
MDGIF (2010), Albania Culture Marketing Strategy, Tourism Development International
TIRANË, 2014 pp 6
UNDP, UNKNOWN ALBANIA A Case Study: Cultural and Environmental Tourism
Xhaja, R. Xhaja, R. Xhaja, R. (2013). Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Cultural Tourism in Albania.
Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy, Vol 2 No 8
Draft-strategjia e Zhvillimit të Turizmit në Shqipëri 2014-2020 mzhut
... In order to meet such criteria, promotion is of vital importance. Cultural tourism scholars like Caca et al. (2016), list cultural heritage as an important aspect to be considered with concern to Albanian tourism. Similarly, Marku (2014) states that most cultural resources in the country are "of very high quality and would likely welcome high numbers of tourists if they were more widely publicized within target populations." ...
Albania, as a result of the democratic developments, based on the market economy and on competition as well, has achieved satisfactory results in the development indicators. We are in the stage of sustainable development as an important goal, which will lead us to the parameters of a developed country. As it already known and often emphasized, sustainable development means sustained high rates, environmental and cultural monuments protection, these last as integral elements of cultural heritage. The number of cultural monuments, the level of their physical condition, of their restoration, maintenance, and valuable use of them is a responsibility not only of the governmental authorities to turn these into an added value to the national economy and local individual. Cultural heritage is an important element that expresses the identity of a nation or of a human community. It is a precious unpredictable asset almost non-renewable. This is why the care for preservation and restoration of cultural heritage elements remains a permanent task of the specialized institutions and beyond. Monuments constitute a key element of cultural heritage. Their value is of pleni-dimensional, i.e. scientific, archaeological, historical, tourist, and why not economical and beneficial.In terms of market economy, this element of national wealth takes a special importance in the approach of a sustainable economy development. Besides, it is a source that may generate incomes by developing cultural tourism, without prejudice to other important aspects. DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n8p728
Tourism strategy of Albania
  • A Marku
Albania culture marketing strategy
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