From: Alice Taylor
2022 Bumper Year for Foreign Tourists and Investment in Albania

2022 has been a bumper year for tourism in Albania, with more than 5.7 million people entering the country between January-August, an all-time high according to data from INSTAT.

Closed off from the world for almost 50 years, Albania has been working hard on its image to attract tourism to its nearly 300 miles of coastline, vast mountain ranges, and diverse range of mountains and lakes.

More than 1.7 million foreign citizens in August alone visited the country, an increase of 11.2% on August 2021 and 9.8% more than in the pre-pandemic summer of 2019. In terms of nationalities most likely to visit, Spain was followed by Poland.

But while tourists flock to the Balkan country, Albanians are leaving in droves both permanently and for holidays. According to INSTAT, there were 3.8 million exits from Albanian nationals, an increase of almost 35% from the previous year. Those leaving by sea increased by 55% in 2021, 27% by land, and 50% by air.

According to data from the Bank of Albania, interest from foreigners in Albania is also coming in the form of foreign direct investment.

Overall, foreign direct investments in the first half of the year reached some EUR 634 million, the highest amount ever for this period and a 35% increase in H2 in 2021.

Within this, some EUR 103 million was invested into the local energy sector by foreigners, an increase of more than 145% on the same period during the previous year. This continues a long-established trend, mainly due to the significant investment in the TAP gas pipeline and various hydropower projects.

The Bank states that many of these investments are renewables such as wind and solar.

During the second quarter of 2022, foreign investment in real estate reached a record high of EUR 83 million, an increase of 66% compared to the same period in 2021. During the previous year, foreign real estate purchases accounted for just 21% of real estate transactions, but in the last year, this has grown significantly, particularly in coastal areas.