From: Exit Staff
Labor Shortages and Ukraine War Hit Albania’s Fragile Tourism Sector

Labor shortages, rising fuel and food prices, and the war in Ukraine are the triple forces threatening the revival of Albania’s tourist industry.

With a steady stream of young Albanians leaving the country each year, seasonal workers are scarce, forcing beach resorts to hire from abroad.

Italian cooks, Serbian hospitality workers, and even short-term contracts with Filipino migrants are on the list, according to a resort owner who spoke to BIRN.

But hiring a foreign labor force has its drawbacks, rising hospitality prices across hotels and restaurants in the Albanian riviera.

It is another strain on a precarious situation, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which has had its toll on everything from fuel prices to the price of fish and other foodstuff.

The war in Ukraine spells trouble in more ways than one for Albanian tourism: over the past decade, the number of tourists from Eastern Europe has grown exponentially.

According to the National Statistics Institute, in 2021, Albania received some 363,483 from Eastern Europe. During its peak, in 2019, that number was 393,368. Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus account for the majority of visitors from the region.

With COVID-related restrictions being lifted, the situation will not be as dire as 2020. Millions are expected to travel to Albania, especially from Europe at large. Nevertheless, operators will be forced to look domestically to make up the difference.

But with prices rising across the board, hindering Albanians’ ability to save and travel, the country’s tourism sector will be stuck in a vicious circle. Neither waiter, nor waited on, Albanians may soon feel priced out of their own beaches.