Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Albania Hopes to Tempt Russian Travelers Who Have Turned Away From Turkey

Ksamil - Albania

© Flickr/ Artur Malinowski

Albanian tour operators have decided to approach the country's government for help in attracting Russian tourists to the country, according to RT.

It seems that Albania is eager to re-invent itself as something of a new Turkey for Russian tourists, RT reported, referring to local tour operators who have turned to the Albanian government for help in implementing promotion-related tasks. In an interview with RT, Dmitry Gorin, Vice-President of the Russian Tour Operators, said reeling in Russian tourists will be a rather tricky task for the Albanians, given that many have already finalized plans for the upcoming tourist season and the small Muslim country has to compete with neighboring Montenegro and Greece as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus and Russia's own Black Sea resorts.
First and foremost, Albanian tour operators will have to motivate  Russians to visit Albania, Gorin said, recalling that there are no direct flights between Moscow and Tirana and that it would take a Russian tourist about eight hours to reach the destination.
A photo taken on July 23, 2015 shows a general view of a crowded beach of the Adriatic Sea in the Albanian city of Durres
A photo taken on July 23, 2015 shows a general view of a crowded beach of the Adriatic Sea in the Albanian city of Durres
Be ready to pay at least 20,000 rubles (about 300 dollars) per plane ticket, he said, adding that a tiresome flight to Albania is certainly not the main problem. 
"There are 230 resort hotels in the country that can accommodate a total of 8,000 people [but lack the] Turkish-style 'all inclusive' format that was so popular among Russian tourists," Gorin said.
Albania's most picturesque resorts include Saranda, Dhermi, Himara, Durres, Shengjin, Ksamil and Vlore, located on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea coasts. In July, the water warms up to a tepid 26 Celsius; a double room in a small hotel in Vlore typically costs about 700 dollars per week, including breakfasts.
The Albanian town of Kruja
The Albanian town of Kruja
The Albanian resorts are known abroad for their low cost (restaurant bills average 10-15 dollars) and unspoiled, eye-catching environment, according to Gorin, who mentioned the internationally renowned Ksamil Beach. Beach season begins in May in Albania and lasts until the first week of September, he added.
Separately, he noted that there were some security-related risks. "Speaking of safety, we can only be guided by references to the recommendations by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Federal Tourist Agency Rostourism," Gorin said. According to him, foraying into the Russian tourism market is most likely a long-term prospect for Albania, which currently receives about 4 million tourists a year and which has yet to be included in the top-50 preferences among Russian tourists.

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