Photo credit: savagecat
The number of people visiting Albania in the first eight months of this year has doubled since 2008. The country welcome 3 million tourists between January and August of 2011, as the Balkans continue to attract foreign interest.
The tourism growth has been a constant drive for the Albanian economy, with a 16 per cent increase in tourists this year than 2010. Approximately 300,000 more people visited the country, a jump largely attributed by the Ministry of Tourism to an improved infrastructure and quality of service.
New roads, ports and airports have all been introduced, pushing up international demand. While 870,000 of the tourists recorded were Albanians residing abroad, 2.1 million of the 3 million were foreign citizens, indicating that overseas interest in the Balkans is still rising.
Albania’s progress is only matched by Bulgaria. Continuing to reside in TheMoveChannel.com’s Top of the Props charts, international demand for bargains in the Balkans has been fuelled by the price drop of property in Bulgaria’s ski resorts, which are now 50 per cent cheaper than two years ago.
Developments are therefore on the up in both countries, with Albania’s stretch of coast between Vlore and Sarande – dubbed the “Albanian Riviera” – seeing a rapid wave of construction. But while some developers rush into projects without planning permission, the Albanian property industry praised the development of the Lalzit Bay Resort at the 2011 RealEX Conference.
The Adriatic coast resort was awarded project of the year at the conference, which took place in Tirana, for its high quality infrastructure and strong commitment to the environment.
Resort partner Ravin Maharajah commented:
Albania is no longer a country hiding in the shadows thanks to an ever improving infrastructure and real GDP growth. Construction projects such as the $400m Tirana-Elbasan highway and increased frequency of flights most recently between London and Tirana have made huge contributions to rising tourist numbers. As well as this, the country has been experiencing high levels of positive publicity with the likes of legendary business magnet Donald Trump speaking of the rapidly growing Albanian property market at the RealEX conference recently.”
In addition, Albania has become a distinctive emerging market and has been attracting firm interest from foreign investors with foreign direct investment (FDI) in Albania exceeding the $1 billion mark last year according to the UNDP Resident Coordinator.
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