Growing Tourism Potential on the Albanian Coast

In the 1990s, Albania was not likely to be found on a list of top travel destinations. Having emerged from its hermetic dictatorship as the poorest country in Europe, it descended into violent anarchy by 1997. Nearly twenty years later, though, the situation is dramatically different.

A Beach in Orikum, A Town on Albania's Southern Coastline

For a decade now, tourism has been gradually increasing, as more and more people outside the country learn about what it has to offer: stunning mountains, pristine beaches, well-preserved Ottoman towns, ancient ruins — all of which are accessible at relatively cheap prices (at least by European standards).

There are a lot of beautiful places to see in Albania, and it’s not that expensive. Here in Saranda, we have good hotels because we get tourists from [the Greek island of] Corfu. In recent years, the quality of services has increased while the prices have remained reasonable.
—  Port Employee, Albanian, Male, 61

Many of Albania’s neighbors, such as Italy and Greece, rely on tourism as a vital part of their economies, so it is only natural that Albania would look to do the same. While the positive trend in tourism is encouraging, it is also clear that there is much more work to be done. Lack of proper infrastructure continues to be a problem, and both corruption and pollution are omnipresent. Albania will need to address these problems and more before it can hope to mimic the tourism success of its neighbors.

The unique thing about [the port town of] Vlora is that you have both the mountains and the sea at close reach. Additionally, tourists love the fresh traditional meals available at restaurants here.
— Port Employee, Vlora, 33, Albanian