Albania’s tourism sector has fueled an almost 5% expansion in real GDP and surpassed expectations for both the country and the region. Agriculture and trade, along with transportation, are the key pillars of Albania’s GDP, each contributing around 16%, while a combination of prudent fiscal policies, increased income levels, and the strengthening of the local currency have added to the growth.
The Albanian tourism and travel sectors now contribute over 8% to the country’s GDP, creating jobs and driving 38% of total exports. The influx of international and domestic tourists has surged, indicating a strong revival. In January 2023, international traveler numbers increased by a staggering 94.2%. The pandemic has shifted tourism preferences towards small group, outdoors-based experiences – a trend Albania is well-placed to embrace. The country has the potential to redefine itself as a destination for exclusive and specialized travel, with a rebranding strategy aimed at appealing to new markets. By implementing the government’s Blue Tourism Strategy, tourism revenue could see an additional boost of over $400 million, although this would necessitate substantial investments in infrastructure, such as marinas and nature-based activities.
As we look ahead, Albania’s economic prospects are highly promising. The IMF forecasts a steady expansion of real GDP by 3.6% in 2023 and 3.3% in 2024, primarily driven by resilient private consumption, especially in the tourism and construction sectors. On the path to EU membership, Albania has been making steady progress. It achieved the status of a candidate country in 2014 and received political agreement for accession negotiations with the EU.
Albania’s remarkable economic recovery, thriving tourism sector, expanding commerce, and determination to overcome obstacles on its path to EU membership paint a bright future for this beautiful country.