Travel agencies in Albania are in crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, as tourists have stopped coming to Albania and Albanians are not traveling abroad.
Reservations are canceled daily.
“We are collapsing because many international partners who bring tourists to Albania have canceled contracts. They have the right to do this in situations of force majeure that do not depend on them, “said Rahman Kasa, president of the Albanian Tourist Union (ATU) in an interview for the Albanian broadcaster Top Channel.
The main concern of tour operators are cancellations for the entire summer season. This will damage not only the government budget but also the most profitable sector in Albania: tourism.
According to statistics from the Bank of Albania, the country’s economy benefits from around € 2 billion in tourism. If the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout the summer, there will be no revenue from this sector. This amount does not include financial damage to the hospitality sector, mainly hotels.
Under these conditions, many companies will go bankrupt, and experts say, especially those that are still repaying mortgages to banks.
Many airports around the world have been closed, thousands of flights have been canceled, and cities are blocked.
Travel agencies are observing the pandemic coronavirus situation with concern. If the pandemic lasts until July, as warned by the World Health Organization, financial collapse is inevitable.
With the suspension of the activity in some sectors, it is not yet known what to do with the workers. As for the tourism sector, there are over 150,000 employees who are forced to stay at home. But there are also many employees in public transport and other sectors. Some companies have opted to pay wages, while others have suspended them.
Hospitality is among the sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Albania. Many hotels are on the verge of bankruptcy. No tourists have arrived in Albania in the past two weeks. Only healthcare professionals and receptionists currently work in hotels.
To understand the damage caused by the coronavirus, just take a look at the situation at the Tirana International Hotel in the center of the capital.
“We hardly have guests; our occupation is 1%. There are fewer than 10 people in the hotel. All our guests are gone, and the last 10 are waiting for the flight agreements so that they can leave, ”said Erjona Zenullari, coordinator of Tirana International Hotel events for Top Channel’s“ Top Story ”program.
The mass cancellations come from foreign tourists who had planned to visit Albania.
“Most of the groups had older people and came from countries with a coronavirus pandemic. The travelers came from China, Japan, and Asia in general, and from Europe. We were forced to cancel reservations and refund them, “explains Erjona Zenullari.
Tirana International Hotel has reduced staff, with only 10 currently out of 150. This is a severe social and financial situation for the iconic hotel in the heart of the capital. Smaller hotels and those in the suburbs or other Albanian cities are bankrupt, and their economic recovery will take months, “Top Story” warns.