Albanian tourist revenues in Greece rose spectacularly by 157% compared to 2021 and by 33% compared to 2019, Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sophia Zacharaki said after attending the “The Future of Environmental Sustainable Tourism in Albania” (FESTA) forum in Tirana on April 3-5.
The international forum was organized by the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), under the auspices of Albanian Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
FESTA included panels and meetings among policymakers, entrepreneurs, and operators of hospitality from countries of southeastern Europe.
Zacharaki and Greek Ambassador to Albania Constantina Kamitsi joined with other Greek officials for a press conference to Albanian media to promote Greece, while the deputy minister exchanged views with agencies of the Albanian tourism market.
Meetings held by the Greek minister in Albania included those with her counterpart Vilma Bello, Lithuania Deputy Minister of Economy and Innovation Ieva Valeskaite, and with the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, who received Zacharaki at Tirana and discussed ways of supporting the Greek minority in Albania. She also paid a visit to the Greek-speaking Arsakio school in the capital, where she spoke with teachers and students.
Zacharaki said her visit’s purpose was to “further expand Greek-Albanian relations in tourism on the basis of the great success of 2022, which was the best year of all times in terms of tourism revenues from Albania.” She said discussions included niche tourism (ecotourism, gastronomy, mountain tourism, and religious and cultural tourism), which would use the recently signed Joint Action Program between the two countries as a springboard. She also added that the visit’s aim was to “lay the groundwork for a wider collaboration of all countries in the region,” where Greece can contribute its extensive experience especially in the fields of alternative tourism and training.
As part of events encouraging the development of further collaboration between Greece and Albania, the Greek embassy and the region of Epirus will hold a gastronomy event in Tirana on May 26-28.