Albania tourism has seen a significant growth spurt this year, as opposed to last, with an over 400 thousand more travelers visiting from January to August, compared to 2010 figures. A statement from Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha (image below) last week spotlights the dramatic growth in Albania arrivals.
Albania and Alphabetical Balkans Recovery?
In maybe the worst economic times in the modern age, Albania and other Eastern European countries can use a shot in the arm from tourism. Berisha’s meeting with Albanian ministers is important not only for Albania and incoming visitation, but for the rest of Europe and Albanian travelers outbound. In Q1 alone, according to news from Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, nearly 350 thousand outbound Albanian travelers contributed to the overall travel economic picture.
The significance, while not as dramatic as say Russian outbound traffic, is never the less important. Albania and her neighbors represent a weighty dimension when aggregated. And then there is investment.
Where Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa comes into the picture is in FDI news for Albania. Not many realize, but Albania is second behind Serbia in foreign direct investment (FDI) with over $1 billion on the books since last year. Ravin Maharajah (image above), Partner of Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, had this to say about his company’s part in the trend:
“Albania is a distinctive emerging market one that investors can see potential in. There are vast monetary opportunities in Albania and investors want to take advantage of the growing tourist market, competitive business environment and of course the property development opportunities. We are proud that our 5 Star development lies within Albania and are delighted to be a part of its growth. As tourism matures so does the interest in Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa development and it has become highly desired by domestic and international tourists and investors alike looking for properties away from the city close to warm sea waters and good old peace and quiet.”
The spotlight on Lalzit Bay should be a mini-lesson for Eastern Europe economy building. Example one is the company’s recent US-Albanian investment forum they sponsored with the Consul General of the Republic of Albania in New York, as well as the Developing Markets Associates Ltd. Scheduled for 19 September, Albania’s outreach endeavor will be led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, along with emissaries of various business, banking, and industry sectors. If Albania pulls off a success in September, I hope the media coins my term “Alphabetical Balkans Recovery” – Albania is the first country listed in our new index of Eastern Europe too.
The Right Stuff
Among the speaker/participants; Harry Bajraktari – President of Bajraktari Management Corporation, US Congressman Elliot L Engel – Chairman of the Albanian Issues Caucus, Ardian Fullani – Governor of the Bank of Albania, Christian Canacaris – CEO of Raiffeisen Bank, and Dr. Sotiris Kapotas – Chairman of Stream Oil & Gas, will join many other key figures at this event.
Aside the meaningful discourse suggested here, Albania’s initiative bears other interesting scrutiny and lessons – one speaker of note, Eneida Guria, Director, Albanian Investment and Development Agency – was in 2003 to 2005 the US – Albania Peace Corps Training Manager. The point being, Albania’s team sent to the US is made up of “in the know” and very immersed experts. Other Balkan countries might take note of the corps and the method here. At FDI dot net (PDF), we found doing business in Albania holding steady as compared to some neighbors, just for those interested.
Taking Chances – Isn’t That What Real Investors Do?
How successful this forum will be, obviously depends on many factors. However, from what can be gleened from developments like Lalzit Bay Resort – designed by world renown architects Woods Bagot, another in the works by Finsec Ltd., the Marina Marco development in Croatia (Agvus Corporation?), Danske Invest (PDF report) Trans-Balkan Fund G, and many other entities and funds are all already active, if a bit under the radar. While the economic picture is till unsteady across all world markets, clearly forward momentum, is in reality, the only path out of this mess.
Albania, location wise and economy wise, could be the first to emerge as one of the leading Eastern European leisure capitals. Durres, where not only Lalzit Bay, but another interesting development (please let us know) nearby (Cape Rodoni Resort & Spa) show particular promise. The old saying, “They don’t make any more pristine sea front real estate,” bears weight in these cases. We will keep you updated on the responses after the upcoming conference.
The pristine beach shown below may be a bit more crowded if Albania’s leaders can get momentum going. For information about Albania tourism, we reccommend the reader visit official site of the Albanian Tourism Board.