Tourism has been the hardest hit sector in 2020. The pandemic, which started in mid-March, blocked all travel for a period of several months, but even then they remained limited and continue to be so.
Bank of Albania data show that foreigners' travel expenses to Albania were halved, to 989 million euros. In total, about 1.1 billion euros less have entered the country as a result of missing tourist spending. The contraction was strongest in the second and third quarters.
Other INSTAT data show that the number of foreign nationals entering the country in 2020 fell by 58.5%, after the previous year had been the best in the history of Albanian tourism. Wine bookings from foreign agencies in Europe, from Poland, Czech Republic, Nordic countries, Germany etc. were canceled.
Tourism was kept afloat by the region, mainly Kosovo citizens, who saved hotels from even deeper revenue declines. In 2020, tourists from Kosovo accounted for 52% of the total, up from 34% a year earlier.
Albanians save 915 million euros
While foreigners had no restrictions on entering Albania since May, the European Union banned the travel of Albanian citizens from mid-March and still does not allow movement for tourist purposes. INSTAT reported that the number of Albanian citizens leaving the country in 2020 fell by 51%.
According to the Bank of Albania, Albanians' travel expenses abroad fell by 58% in 2020, to 667 million euros.
In total, about 915 million euros are "saved", as a result of the inability to move.
As with the expenditures of foreign nationals, those of Albanians fell at the highest rates in the second and third quarters.
The balance remains positive
The balance of tourism (the difference between the expenditures of foreigners in Albania and Albanians abroad) in 2020 was positive of 321 million euros, but the lack of income from tourism has significantly damaged the domestic industry.
The decrease in the number of tourists and their missing expenses led to the crisis of the Albanian hotel activity. According to INSTAT, the volume of activity of this sector, which in recent years had gained momentum due to the increase in the number of tourists, fell by 63% during the quarantine period.
After a recovery in the summer months, but left as much as two-thirds of 2019, which was the best historical year for tourism, sales of this sector fell again by 41% in the last months of the year, after the partial return of quarantine .
The ban on travel and tourism activities, which is still ongoing, has made travel agencies even more affected in the country by the pandemic. This sector is failing to recover. After the decline in activity by 86% in the second quarter, in the quarantine period, wine continued to shrink by 57%, according to INSTAT. While in the last quarter, the decline accelerated again to -66.4%, as neither foreigners nor Albanians traveled abroad for the holidays.