By Steve Taggart
For many decades, Albania was not considered a tourist destination. Although situated just 45 miles from the eternally-popular coast of Italy, this South-Eastern European country was considered a world away. With a recent history peppered with the restrictions that come from living under communist rule, travel to Albania has been limited in recent years and its shores have remained largely undiscovered by the wider world.
General opinion of the country wasn’t high: it was a world of unknown, looked upon somewhat negatively and not considered a to-visit destination. Yet it is clear that this tide is now turning.
In April this year, the Albanian government launched ‘Branding Albania’, a national competition that would see organisations competing to come up with a winning logo, slogan and, importantly, a strategy for the future, to promote the country to a wider audience and place it firmly and confidently on a worldwide stage.
This positive move by the country’s leadership for “Next Generation Albania” showed recognition of the untapped potential and the importance of tourism to Albania’s future, a bold move that received a great response. Eventual winners of the competition were StrawberryFrog, becoming Albania’s newly appointed global creative agency, tasked with the job of building the brand.
Also Helped by the recent announcement that Albania has been granted EU candidacy, following their original request to join the European Union in 2009, interest is today being piqued in holiday homes and investment properties in the country, with the 5 star Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa being particularly popular.
Situated just 30 minutes from Tirana’s airport on a beautiful sandy beach, Lalzit Bay offers a range of 1 or 2 bedroom apartments and 3 or 4 bedroom villas with private pools, inspired by California’s elegant and modern beachfront houses. Prices range from €35,000 to €360,000.
Once seen as the sick man of Europe; perhaps Albania can rejuvenate holiday makers, looking for some much needed R & R.