Tourism in Albania – amid restrictive measures and the hard task to offer quality service

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Albania has officially opened the doors to the summer season for 2021. Despite the fact that this has been one of the sectors in the entire world that have taken the hardest hit from the pandemic, tourism is expected to thrive and stand back on its feet, especially after the relaxation of many previous anti-COVID measures and limitations.

But, parallel to the launch of the season, the government started the operation called “Our coast”, focused on the demolition of all illegal buildings along the coast, giving yet another blow to the sector since the very start of the season.

No one wants to go on holiday and instead of the sound of waves hitting the shore, they have to hear the noise of bulldozers bringing down illegal objects on the coastline or even worse, have to see the slabs of concrete and building skeletons left over after the demolition.

“The law requires those that build without a permit to clean up after them. This is often or almost always neglected. Naturally, we won’t leave the piles of building blocks where they are, but those that don’t clean them themselves, will pay a hefty price, the cost of cleaning and the high waste of energy required by the state structures,” stated PM Edi Rama.

On the other hand, even though the government is taking pride in its achievements regarding the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Technical Committee of Experts is still keeping the night curfew in force. All movement is prohibited starting from 23:00 PM – 06:00 AM. At this point, it seems like the holidays will also be limited. The limitation of working hours isn’t a good sign for tourism especially in beach towns that are used to offering their services at all hours of the day and night.

A few days ago, the Ministries of Health and Tourism published the new anti-COVID protocols, highlighting the rules that need to be followed by all tourist operators during the entire season. However, comparing it to last year’s protocol, when the pandemic was at its highest peak, apart from the opening of pools, this year nothing has changed. The same measures will be in force this season as well.

Since the start of the season, businesses established a state of emergency because of a lack of working staff as well as their concerns regarding the strict curfew hours.

Meanwhile, the vaccination process for the staff of hospitality and tourism sectors is continuing at a steady pace, including the set up of summer health centers that will be operating 24/7, expecting to offer rapid tests for the prevention and spread of COVID-19 in our country.

A few days after the official kick-off of the tourist season in Southern Albania, health minister Manastirliu announced the process of disinfection in the touristic regions of Vlora and Saranda, a process, which according to her will spread across the entire areas identified by public health experts in order to provide a safer tourist season.

Although experts have foreseen a boom of tourists this year, it seems that Albania will still have to overcome a series of issues with the current restrictions and limitations, so we can truly have a successful season.

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