TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Union on Thursday gave 100 million euros ($117.5 million) to Albania to help its tourism industry recover and boost its competitiveness in the region.
The EBRD gave a soft loan of 60 million euros to co-finance tourism-related projects in infrastructure, such as roads, water and wastewater improvements and municipal infrastructure upgrades. It said the money will be invested in the municipalities of Berat, Korca, Fier and Shkoder, without making clear the loan terms.
The EU gave a 40 million-euro grant, to be used for the restoration, improvement and development of cultural and natural heritage sites in the country.
Both the EBRD and the EU also will offer technical assistance and training opportunities to help improve tourism standards and ensure women’s participation.
Tourism in Albania has gained importance in recent years and now accounts for 8.5% of the country’s GDP. The number of foreign tourists doubled between 2013 and 2019, to 6.4 million.
Albania has a 475-kilometer (300-mile) coastline but most of the country’s territory is covered with mountains, making it ideal for both beach and mountain tourism. it also has many ancient archaeological sites as the country is located between the ancient Byzantine and Roman empires and Greece.
But an earthquake last year and the coronavirus lockdown have halved the number of tourists recorded in September this year compared with a year ago.
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