TIRANA, February 15
Recent tourism trends show that the modern tourist is taking a new different path from the traditional typical summer crowded destinations and major urban centers. They are looking for travel experiences that create an impact that enhances the life quality both for them and for the local communities that they visit. The global travel industry is paying attention to these people that want to experience travel in a different way.
Currently, millennials, people between 22 and 37 years old, are the most numerous generation at a global level and at the same time the biggest spender. Soon, they will be key drivers in the consumer world. Therefore, the travel industry is shifting based on the needs of this generation. In general, millennials are tech and marketing savvy, hence, they’re a big challenge for the travel industry. Brand loyalty is low among them as they rely more on social media reviews and peer experience.
Millennials travel more compared to their parents. They want unique travel experiences. They want to live like locals and prefer cultural and authentic encounters. The most important thing to say about them is that they are sustainable tourists. These travelers have a strong sense of responsibility and willingness to give back to the places that they visit.
Millennials and also people from other generations love to feel that they are helping to make a difference even after they leave a specific location. Thus, sustainable tourism is what attracts them more.
How to attract these tourists to Albania
Albania has seen a fast-growing tourism industry during the years. Many cities and villages across the country thrive on tourism as a major source of income. Yet, tourism in Albania is not a people-oriented industry, thus it fails to provide jobs and opportunities that would revitalize local economies. The country has a major potential for the development of cultural tourism, ecotourism, and nature-based tourism even in the poorest areas.
Someone who has been tapping into the potential of an area that depends on the extraction industry is Lulzim Hupi from Bulqiza, a former migrant and miner. For decades Bulqiza has been a synonym to chromium, but now there are slight chances for developing sustainable tourism. Lulzim is working hard to bring tourists to the poor city of Bulqiza. He is the owner of a two hundred years old traditional tower (Kulle) that now serves as an accommodation facility for all the travelers that are looking for an authentic experience.
When Lulzim started the renovation of his Kulla, even his close relatives were skeptical. They never heard about agro-tourism in town where the only job was and remains related to mining.
He managed to attract groups of foreign tourists and still continues working for the full renovation of his tower. Kulla Hupi is a great place to spend the night for hikers and bikers.
Tobi Gessler from Ride Albania Mountain Biking says: “Lulzim and his family are extremely friendly and welcoming people, and staying at their traditional village house and enjoying homemade food cooked by the mother is “the real thing” – one of the best and most authentic experiences you can get as a tourist in Albania.”
Lulzim believes that more people will come after the construction of Arberi Road, while his determination has inspired other inhabitants of the area to get involved in agrotourism and reduce dependence on mining jobs.
Now Lulzim if planning to make a tour package for the ‘Town of chromium’. Hupi Guest House is an Albania Traditional house that offers visitors the chance to live like a local for a few days and also to explore the natural landmarks around Bulqiza. The package includes accommodation in the 230-year old tower, bio food, hiking tours, horse riding, and biking.
Albania is not only beach and sun and Bulqiza in not only chromium and mines.
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Photo Credit: L. Hupi