Northern Albania Hardest Hit by COVID-19’s Impact on Tourism

Northern Albania Hardest Hit by COVID-19’s Impact on Tourism

TIRANA, November 19

As tour operators and accommodation facilities already counted their losses for 2020, the Institute of Statistics confirms their gloomy assessment for the third quarter (Q3). July-September coincides with the peak tourist season in Albania and also with the easing of lockdown measures. Despite that, and even though holders of Albanian passports couldn’t travel to conventional destinations such as Greece or Italy, the number of visitors and nights spent in tourist establishment facilities declined significantly compared to the third quarter of 2019.
At a statewide level, the number of visitors in Q3 declined by 43.3 percent compared to Q3 2019. Meanwhile, the number of nights spent on tourist establishments declined by 44.9 percent during the same period.
According to the report issued by INSTAT, the Northern region saw the highest decline in the number of visitors compared to central and southern regions. The number of visitors to northern Albania, a region that includes key destinations such as Thethi, Valbona, and Vermoshi, and many more, saw a 57.4 percent decline in the number of visitors and a 50.4 percent in nights spent in accommodation facilities in the area. Given the profile of visitors that travel to the northern region, outdoor and adventure tourists, the above-mentioned numbers imply that the outdoor recreation economy has been hard hit by the pandemic crisis.

Moreover, southern Albania, a traditional destination for beach tourism saw a 37.4 percent decline in the number of visitors. Meanwhile, the central region, which includes Tirana and Durres, saw a 37.1 percent decline in visitors during Q3.
In terms of countries of origin, Kosovans accounted for 32 percent of non-resident visitors during Q3, followed by North Macedonians (8.6%), Polish (4.7%), etc.
The findings show that Albania lacks a sustainable tourism model that supports local economies in remote and vulnerable communities with huge but yet untapped tourism potential.

Source: INSTAT

Photo: Nikaj Mertur area by Abdulla Diku

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