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German media, focusing on rural tourism in Albania

German media, focusing on rural tourism in Albania

ITB Berlin Nee, the official media of the Berlin fair, has dedicated an article to what rural tourism offers in Albania. Beyond the coast, antiquity, this time the focus is on rural areas that have a lot to offer. Nature, adventure, exploration. What more?

German media, focusing on rural tourism in Albania

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Beyond the fascinating coastline and wealth of historical and archaeological treasures, Albania has a large number of protected natural areas that make it an ideal rural tourism destination.

In her speech at the ITB Berlin panel on "Quo Vadis, rural destinations?" the Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania Mirela Kumbaro drew attention to the fact that one third of Albania's territory consists of mountains, rivers and forests. Albania welcomed 10.1 million visitors last year and started the first two months of 2024 with 55% more foreign tourists than the same period in 2023.

However, when Ms. Kumbaro asked the panelists if they had visited Albania, few hands went up. "This means that Albania is a destination to be discovered", she confirmed. Underlining Albania's special approach as a rural tourism destination, Mrs. Kumbaro mentioned not only the territory rich in natural spaces and protected areas, but also highlighted examples such as the Vjosa river, the last wild river in Europe to be declared National Park.

With a significant percentage of Protected Areas in its territory, Albania offers great potential for tourists looking for natural adventures such as hiking and river rafting. But as Mrs. Kumbaro pointed out, urban and rural tourism are not competing with each other. "We are not dividing Albanian tourism into cities and rural areas. They must coexist," she said.

Combining different types of attractions and moving between cities, the coast and natural areas is not difficult in a country where nothing is too far. "You don't need to travel for hours from one destination to another," said the minister. "You can reach from the top of a snow-covered mountain to one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania in just half an hour."

German media, focusing on rural tourism in Albania

Emphasizing how important the protection of natural areas is for Albania and how tourism can be developed there, Minister Kumbaro pointed out the fact that her ministry covers both areas, the environment and tourism. "It's like a check and balance instrument," she asserted, to ensure that development is sustainable. Establishing the right balance between one of the most important sectors of the Albanian economy and the environment is "an absolute condition for a small country like Albania", she said, noting that together with 100% renewable energy, the country is an example of sustainable practices. To develop its rural tourism offer, Albania has been guided by Italy, said Mrs. Kumbaro, "not to copy any of its models, but to be inspired by the best practices".

Summarizing the diversity that this country offers, Mrs. Kumbaro compared Albania's varied touristic offers, including the great opportunities of rural tourism, comparing it to a table full of delicious dishes where it is difficult to choose. "Everything you need, you can find here in Albania", she said.

Albania All Senses

The National Tourism Agency of Albania presented its slogan "Albania All Senses", explained Mrs. Kumbaro, after carefully following the comments on social media from visitors to Albania last year. "Everyone is talking about a new experience and sensations," she said, and so such a destination chose a slogan that invites visitors to experience the country with all their senses. Mrs. Kumbaro specifically identified the sense of taste by mentioning the national drink, brandy, Albanian mountain tea and the complete lack in Albania of what she called "food for tourists": "We only have real local Albanian food" .

Albania signs the agreement to be the Official Country of Honor for ITB Berlin in 2025

Preparing for next year's edition, Albania signed an agreement with ITB Berlin to be the Official Venue of Honor for ITB Berlin 2025 on March 6. The agreement was signed between the Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania, Mrs. Mirela Kumbaro and the Director General of Messe Berlin, Dr Mario Tobias.

Article link in ITB Berlin News: https://news.itb.com/daily/albania-cover-story/