July and August have marked an influx of foreign tourists through charters in the country, significantly exceeding the levels of pre-pandemic period.
In addition to the influx of citizens of the region, who did not "abandon" us during the pandemic, tourists from other European countries and beyond have returned in the summer, while new destinations have been added.
The increase of tourists is also reflected in the significant increase of traffic through charters at Rinas Airport. According to official data from Tirana International Airport (TIA), in total, passengers who traveled by charter (excluding Turkey and Egypt, where Albanian citizens travel) for the period July-August 2021 were about 174 thousand (round trip), with a increase of 15% compared to the same period of 2019.
Albania was declared this summer as a COVID-free country by the government, opening its doors to all tourists who wanted to visit it. This encouraged citizens from different countries to come to Albania, thus avoiding the restrictions they might encounter in other countries, especially in Western Europe.
The Poles were the first to confirm the resumption of charter flights from 25 May. TIA data show that they are the largest group of tourists who have come through the air, with a significant increase from 2019. For the period July-August, about 81 thousand passengers have used charters through TIA, doubling the number as compared to the same period of 2019.
The second are the Ukrainians. In July-August, 38.5 thousand passengers flew from Ukraine to Rinas and vice versa, or 65% more than the same period before the pandemic.
In third place are tourists from Saudi Arabia, after the launch of direct flights Rinas-Riyadh. About 9 thousand passengers flew to and from Rinas. "This year, a very interesting development is the one related to Saudi Arabia. "Flynas" has entered here with charters, since June 15. The airline brought its marketing representatives, who made a "fame trip" in 7 days. They filmed everything, tried different restaurants and were very satisfied. Their comment was that if our customers will feel what we feel here, there will be tremendous tourism. This group is interested in yacht tourism, as they also have opportunities. "Compared to what they are used to paying, we are very free as a market," said Smerald Bozaxhi, who operates in the yacht rental sector.
From Germany, passengers traveling by charter increased slightly by 2%, compared to 2019, from the Czech Republic fell 24%. Significantly declining were citizens from Israel. In doubling were the Russians, with about 7,000 passengers flying straight in and out of Rinas. Unlike 2019, there were no charters from Denmark, Slovenia, Sweden, etc. in the summer of 2021.
Passenger traffic in Rinas increases
July and August have been very busy months for the country's main airport, Tirana International Airport (TIA), surpassing pre-crisis levels for the same period and significantly recovering from pandemic period losses.
Official TIA sources informed "Monitor" that for the period July-August 2021, about 983 thousand passengers (entry-exit) have traveled from Rinas Airport, with an increase of 21.3% compared to the same period of 2019, which until now had been the best year of tourism. While in relation to July-August 2020, when the country was suffering the consequences of the crisis, the enlargement is 76%.
Only in July, passenger traffic was 9.6% higher than in the same month 2019 (+ 70% with 2020), while in August the growth was stronger at almost 32% (+ 82% with the same month of 2020-s).
Despite the significant increase in traffic in July and August, for the 8-month period the trend remains down due to the poor performance for the period January-June. According to other INSTAT data for the first 6 months, the entry-exit of foreign nationals through the air fell by 46% compared to the same period of 2019.