TIRANA, January 4
Albania is set to introduce a 31% cash rebate to attract international film and TV producers to shoot in the country
What do New Zeeland, Petra, and Wadi Rum in Jordan, Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco, Tabernas in Spain, and the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur in India have in common? They are all famous movie locations that attract not only film producers, but growing numbers of international visitors.
Film-induced tourism also known as screen tourism is an emerging trend in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. This is a type of tourism that can have a huge impact on the economies of countries where international films and documentaries are shot. However, to get into the plans of screen-tourists, a country must first get the attention of location scouts. A certain way to succeed is through film incentive schemes and packages. Along with increased investments and jobs, these schemes bring tourism in a lasting form.
Therefore, Albania is set to attract international producers. A new bill ‘On Cinematography’ was sent for public consultation by the Ministry of Culture and the Albanian National Center for Cinematography.
The bill defines ‘cash rebate’ as an incentive for audiovisual works production by international companies depending on the investment and time spent shooting in Albania. Moreover, the bill highlights that international audiovisual projects that will be filmed in Albania will benefit incentives of up to 31 percent of their total expenditures in Albania. The right to apply for incentives will be granted to an Albanian cinematographic studio that will receive such requests from a foreign company.
Almost all the countries of the region offer cash rebate incentives to film producers. They start at 20 percent in North Macedonia and reach up to 40 percent in Greece. The latter managed to emerge as a top location for Hollywood and other producers such as Netflix and Apple TV amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All this was possible to the 40 percent cash rebate scheme that Greece launched in October 2020. On the other hand, Croatia has been through some of the unwanted consequences of film-induced tourism. The city of Dubrovnik had to deal with mass tourism after it appeared in HBO’s Game of Thrones as King’s Landing.
On its part, Albania has a lot to offer to the cinema industry. Its southern Riviera offers can easily pass as any other Mediterranean country, while bunkers and former industrial plants are perfect for cold war/communist era productions, dystopian or Sci-Fi films. So far, War Dogs is one of the movies that had a crucial part of its plot development related to real events that took place in Albania. However, all the ‘Albania’ scenes were filmed in Romania, which offers film cash rebate incentives of up to 35 percent. Below are the film cash rebate incentives offered by other countries of the region:
Croatia 25%, with an additional 5% for productions in regions with below-average development.
North Macedonia 20%
Kosovo too had plans to introduce a cash rebate scheme for films of 30 percent.