Tourists come to Albania: – We love Norway!

Tourists come to Albania: – We love Norway!

– We have Very small Beaches as beautiful as Greece, Elona Tina tells VG from the mobile screen – directly from Gjøvik.

Her brother, Daniel LaSage, owns the phone. Inside a brand new hotel in the VG Albanian village of Ksamil.

Or Europe's answer to the Maldives, as it's also called.

– Anyone who loves good beaches, good food and good people should go to Albania. Plus, we are much cheaper than our neighbors. Welcome!

From GJØVIK to KSAMIL: Elona Tina runs the hotel from Norway. Here she is talking to her brother – and VG. Photo: Ingrid Bjørndal Farestvedt / VG

From iron blanket to bath towel

For a long time it was the only one in Europe Most closed countries. However, in recent years, Albania has gained momentum as a full-fledged southern destination.

– Everyone here has started building on their plots. Albania has become more popular in recent years, Elona says.

The family at the hotel actually knows Norwegian. A little, at least:

The tourism boom is evident in tiny Ksmail.

Bathhouses and souvenir shops are lined up. No matter where you go during the holidays, new construction projects are popping up.

The scenery is beautiful, the lager is ridiculously cheap and the temperature hovers around a delicious 35 degrees. There are turquoise seas and chalk-white beaches – everywhere.

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from 2019 to 2023 Tourism to Albania increased by 54 (!) percent. Everyone can make a record this year will be beaten.

But the industry is still new. For example, the first Scandinavian tourists did not arrive in Albania until 2014.

More and more poppies

According to the travel agencies VG spoke to, more and more Norwegians are now taking their summer vacations to Albania.

This is not surprising. Norway was twice as expensive as Albania last year.

But here too the price is rising. It shows statistics SSP:

– You feel like you don't spend money here, Norwegian Christian Quendseth (24) said when VG met him on the Ksmail beach.

He and his girlfriend Nadia Bale (25) said they earn more money here than in other southern countries.

– Interest in Albania really started last summer. It continues to grow in popularity this summer, says Anne Mørk-Løwengreen, communications manager at TUI Norge.

  • Ksamil, Saranda, Durrës and the capital Tirana are some of the most popular destinations.
  • In addition, the combination of Greece and Albania quickly became a classic.

VIG's Saidan team has traveled from Corfu in Greece to Saranda in Albania. The journey by boat takes about 30 minutes:

From there it takes half an hour to go to Ksamil.

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– Many of our travelers combine a week in Saranda with a week in Corfu in Greece, says Beatriz Rivera, communications manager at Apollo.

Despite the tourism boom, Albania is still underserved Income list in Europe. Albanians earn 35 percent of the European average.

At the same time, the tourism sector is expected to provide 10,000 new jobs by 2024.

– Only one Norwegian flag is missing

The Norge Hotel opened its doors in late summer last year and is having its first regular season this year. It's a big family project — and now they're taking the fall:

Elona keeps track of bookings and guests. Emanuel takes care of the finances and paperwork.

Mother arranges. Brother welcomes guests.

– May we ask how much you invested to achieve all this?

– It's … a lot, Elona laughs.

Home, dear home: a little piece of Norway. In the middle of Albania. Photo: Ingrid Bjørndal Farestvedt / VG

The dream began 20 years ago, when she and Emanuel hit the ground running. Meanwhile, they moved to Norway, where the couple now have two children, ages 4 and 12.

Now the Dina family have been Norwegians for 13 years – and they're on their way to success in their home country.

– Is betting a bit scary?

– I was always a bit skeptical, but my husband wants to take the chance. This is our home, right? We want to create something special here, says Elona.

Get: Hotels in Ksamil are close. Follow the arrow to Norway! Photo: Ingrid Bjørndal Farestvedt / VG

So far, no Norwegians have visited the family's brand new hotel. The family hopes things will turn out well.

– Why “Norway Hotel”?

– We love Norway! We are very happy. The Norwegian flag is no longer the only thing to be seen in the hotel, laughs Elona.

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In the south V.G
In the south V.G

Hello! Our names are Anja and Ingrid. In the past week we have reported from Greece and southern Albania. We are now back home in Norway – but can still give us advice on holiday stuff! Contact us here.

Read more stories from our trip here:

  • Norwegians are coming to Europe's new favorite in the south – they don't have to worry about checking their account on the way.
  • Feta cheese has risen in price – but instead of cutting it down, Greeks are changing their lifestyles.
  • VG measured 43 degrees in Corfu on Thursday 20 June.
  • On the party island of Mykonos, people from all over the world party 24/7.
  • Tourists are on alert as the island is overcrowded.
  • In Athens, they had the first heat wave on record so far this year.

Are you dreaming of visiting a Greek island this summer? VG's large travel magazine has 100 pages about Greece and can be ordered Our Online Store (Free Shipping!)

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

"Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru."

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