Albion Idrizi is one of the representatives of the tourism industry private sector in Kosovo, who was involved in many processes for its development and transformation. After his experience with travel agencies in Germany, now he leads his own company in Kosovo. As an experienced IATA trainer, he has contributed to advance tourism and aviation by training new staff and developing new tourism products. Albion says he feels fortunate that he was in Kosovo during these decisive years for the development of tourism and country in general, a unique professional experience.
How do you see the tourism sector in Kosovo in 2021?
The strongest points of Kosovo tourism are its natural attractions, the air and road infrastructure, food and social life and the numerous activities we offer. However, as a community we need to work more in protecting the environment, including a better management of waste, building artificial attractions, and increasing the quality of service. Before COVID-19 pandemic we had a smaller tourism sector, whereas during the pandemic we almost had no tourism. Now, with the improvement of the situation created by the pandemic, we have a good opportunity for a direct recovery in ecologic, responsible, and individual tourism. All forecasts point to this being the new trend of tourism and Kosovo has a lot to offer.
In the recent years, what were the collaborations or support that helped this sector develop and go through significant changes? Can you mention some activities?
The time when tourism was developed by printing some promotional brochures with pictures of nature and good-looking people is over. Now, we need a genuine cooperation between all stakeholders who then work together to achieve national objectives in harmony with a national strategy and in line with the best international standards and practices. Unfortunately, people in leadership positions in Kosovo still do no allocate sufficient funds or human resources and neither do they demonstrate commitment to tourism-related issues. A small office within the Ministry of Trade and Industry in charge of developing and managing national tourism is constantly overloaded and underfunded.
Fortunately, the international non-governmental organizations, especially the PPSE Swisscontact project has been and continues to be very active in developing Kosovo tourism. PPSE has invested a lot in conducting research, training, supervision, development of products and human resources, digitalization, and promotion of the Kosovo tourism.
Where do you see the best investment potential?
I wish that Kosovo Diaspora gets back their “appetite” for safe, gainful, and responsible investments in Kosovo. Investments in the tourism infrastructure meets these conditions. I would highlight opportunities in investing in hotels, gastronomy, mountain accommodation units, adventure parks, e-commerce, also in the service and call centre sectors. After 3 years of developing and testing, with my company we are about to complete the page fluturime.com, an entirely digital agency for online booking and payments for all tourism products. This project would have not been possible without the foreign investment by the company co-owner Besim Idrizi from New York, who provided the necessary funds to realize the project despite the pandemic and the aggravated situation in the tourism sector.