H.E. Sami Shiba, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Republic of Albania to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- The tourism season for 2019 in Albania is already openned. What can you tell us about the values, attractions and tourist resources of Albania?
Before I explain about the tourist resources and potentials of Albania, I would like to underline the fact that the citizens of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar can travel and enter to Albania without a visa from 01 April 2019 to 31 October 2019. The travel can be done just with a valid passport.
I would like to emphasize that the tourist potentials of the coastline and mountain areas of Albania are exceptional. The natural beauty combined with its geographical position and the mild climate makes Albania a unique place and famous destination, which has already been mentioned in various published articles. Given this, you can further refer to Lonely Planet which ranked Albania as the top 10 best places to visit for 2019 (March 31, 2019); The Sun has listed the Albanian Rivera among the top ten hottest and trendy destinations across the globe to visit in 2019 (March 3, 2019); Euronews: Albania is one unique place that needs to be visited. Albania attracted more than six million foreign tourists last year, which counts a rise of 20 percent compared with 2017. Once a hidden treasure, its breathtaking mountains and stunning beaches are now big magnets for many visitors (March 13, 2019) etc.
As I previously mentioned, the tourist potential of the coastline and mountain areas of Albania are tremendous. Albania has a virgin natural environment and a very pleasant Mediterranean climate which makes it a top tourist destination during the entire year. Recently, Albanian tourism has grown, allowing focus in the offer of touristic packages that allow its most precious traits to shine, such as: “sun and sea tourism”, “history and culture tourism”, “mountain tourism”, except to the other growing fields.
Albania’s seaside has a length of 450 km, and it is comprised with many gulfs, which allows it to possess great untapped potentials in the field of seashore tourism. Albania has a considerable number of beaches with fine sand and pines, as well as rocky shores, which are stretched alongside the coast of the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. Within a short period of time, a tourist can experience the mountain climate of Llogara and warmth of the coast of Dhermi, a feat made possible by the country’s impressive and various natural landscapes.
Furthermore, the Ionian coastline is known for having fascinating beaches with deep and very clean waters, extended in one of the most exciting tourist areas of the country called “Albanian Riviera”, which has the best beaches in the whole of Europe, such as Himara, Palasa, Dhërmi, and Ksamil etc.
In these attractions a tourist can enjoy places where the sun stretches across the deep sea, the splendid configurations of rocky and isolated small beaches, the mountains and hillsides covered in Mediterranean vegetation etc. This is the warmest region of Albania, and it is blessed with 300 days of sun. The city of Saranda is the most populous city on the Albanian Riviera and it represents a big tourist destination, which is especially preferred by newly married couples on their honeymoon. https://youtu.be/mt301RfQzgE
Albania is home of various beautiful lakes, and natural springs. Lake Komani, Shkodra, Butrint, and Ohrid are all worth a visit for their ethereal turquoise waters and the stunning scenery that surrounds them. Even natural springs such as Syri i Kalter/ Blue Eye in Saranda, and a similar one in Thethi are perfect for swimming and relaxing.
Albania has important resources for the development of the touristic enjoyment due to its mountainous areas. The Albanian Alps to the North and the mountains alongside the Ionian Sea offer great opportunities to host tourists during the year, including the winter season, which has a mild climate.
Albania is also set apart by the richness of its cultural and historical patrimony, recognized as part of the world’s cultural heritage that requires special protection and care. Butrinti, in Southern Albania, is one of these archeological sites with an indisputable value, which has already been included in the project of the UNESCO, related to the protection of the world’s cultural heritage. Furthermore, cities with a long and deep history, such as Berat, called “The thousand windows” and Gjirokastra, called “The Stone City”, are also under the protection of the UNESCO. These cultural and historical attractions do not only bring a unique value to the world’s cultural heritage, but they also offer a beautiful exceptional experience for the visitor walking through them.
- What Albanian authorities are doing in the tourist sector?
The Albanian government is working with determination, to further improve and upgrade the road infrastructure, by building a modern road network which would allow Albanian citizens, visitors, and foreign investors to easily and effortlessly experience the whole country. The government, aiming the attraction of foreign investors in the hospitality sector, has launched a fiscal incentive for 5-star hotels by fixing in 6 % the VAT and 0 % the tax on profit for 10 years for brand hotels, and developing a number of luxury properties and villas. In addition of that, a special attention has been paid to the exposure of Albanian tourism through different fairs held in many countries.
In order facilitate and encourage the Saudi tourists and visitors who want to discover and enjoy Albania, we are working and also expect the possibility of attracting Saudi Airlines Companies to provide a direct flight from Riyadh and Jeddah to Tirana and vice versa, which will eventually easy up and encourage the Saudi tourists and visitors who want to discover and enjoy Albania.
- Would you please teach us some usual expressions in your language: good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good bye, Cheers, thank you?
Yes, some expressions in the albanian language could be: mirëmëngjes, mirëdita, mirëmbrema, mirupafshim, gëzuar, faleminderit.
Albania has the perfect Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and distinct autumn, winter and spring seasons. From May onwards, the temperatures remain consistently over 22 degrees in the daytime and they reach highs of over 35 during July and August.
Albania has amazing foods. If you are on the coast, you will find the most amazing seafood all at incredibly low prices. As you travel further inland, the dishes are more meat-based, but again you can expect only the freshest produce with some of its still twitching on your plate. The concept of frozen food doesn’t seem to exist and everything its totally fresh, clean, and well prepared. You have the chance, too, to enjoy some local traditional dishes such as tave kose, seafood krudo, patellxhanet mbushur, and the traditional local sausages.
Albanians are friendly and love foreigners. They are also very open towards foreigners and are flattered that have chosen that visit their country. If you are lucky enough to be invited to visit an Albanian’s home, you will be treated as royalty. The guest will always be shown the highest respect at every moment, even being offered a seat at the head of the table.
Albania is a safe country for visitors. It’s tradition of hospitality affords great respect for foreigners; almost all Albanians will go out of their way to provide assistance when you are in need – whether you are lost or in trouble.
The Albanian monetary unit is called “Lek”. The currency floats freely but is quite stable: at the time of speaking exchange is about 125 lek to the euro, about 110 lek to the US dollar.
I want to seize this opportunity to invite the tourists to take Albania into consideration as one of the best options when making their holiday plans. ( for further information please refer to: www.akt.gov.al or http://www.welcomealbania.com/
Thank you, shukran!