TIRANA, January 15
There’s a huge potential for agritourism in Albania as the number of people interested in this activity that connects agricultural production with tourism. Therefore the Albanian government adopted the requirements that all agricultural businesses should meet in order to classify for agritourism activity. The Albanian govt is discussing policies that support the development of the agritourism sector. Various stimulus options for the people employed or related to agriculture businesses are being discussed. However, the odds are in favor of a scheme equal to the one that the government is applying for potential investors in the tourism sector. Sources from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed for Monitor Magazine details from the agriculture development plans. The government is taking into consideration the option of tax exemption for ten years for all the agritourism businesses that will be certified according to the set standard. On the other hand, the Prime Minister declared a six percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for all these subjects.
The standard for the certification of agrotourism businesses was decided and adopted during the last meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Friday, January 12. The standard defines the conditions that a subject that operates in the agrotourism sector should meet in order to get a certified. This is the condition that makes them eligible for fiscal stimulus.
The government’s decision provides the exact definition of agritourism as an activity that takes place on a farm or any other agricultural based operation that brings visitors and allows them to participate in farm activities.
Agritourism supports the development of sustainable tourism in rural areas through environmental protection, preservation of traditions, and promotion of local products.
Criteria for the certification of Agritourism activities
Agritourism activity must take place on farms that meet the following requirements:
The farm should include at least one hectare of land cultivated with crops, or 0.5 hectares of greenhouses.
Animal husbandry farms must have at least ten heads of cattle, or 100 heads of goats/sheep, or 200 chicken. Shepherds ‘settlements (Stan) classify as animal husbandry activities.
Aquaculture and fish farming
Agritourism activity can take place even in agricultural units where the main activity includes the processing of agricultural, livestock, and fish farming produce (olive oil processing plants, wineries, dairy farms, fish farms, etc.) which are apt for agritourism activities.
Subjects that provide activities defined as agritourism must offer one of the following services:
- Food and refreshments
- Recreational activities in the farm or in the surrounding area
Subjects that provide accommodation must have a capacity of rooms from six to 30.
According to the law on tourism, the structures that provide accommodation, should comply with the urban criteria and local construction plans. If it’s possible, they need to comply with local construction styles.
Accommodation may include a camping site where campers can place their tents or park their camper trailers. In this case, the agritourism subject guarantees the hygienic-sanitary conditions (toilets, potable water, waste disposal bins, electric power supply) for a maximum of 15 camper trailers.
Food and refreshments must take place at adequate premises that meet the requirements on food and hygienic-sanitary conditions. The accommodation facility that provides food must have a specific number of dining tables that vary from 6 to 60.
At least 30 percent of the food and refreshments should be products of the farm. Moreover, 30%-70% of food and beverages must be products of local origin made by farmers that conduct an activity in the same municipality or commune.
Agritourism subjects provide their visitors with recreational activities in the farm such as planting and harvesting, fishing, degustation, horse riding, hiking, etc.
Agritourism subjects will be certified by a commission of five members.