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Red Corner: Albania as the Next Great Outdoor Destination?
Albania has a reputation that's been difficult to shake. Most outsiders only know of it as a backwards, communist hermit kingdom that is dangerous and tourist-unfriendly. This is no longer the truth--at least according to a recent article in The Tirana Times.
"Off the Beaten Path in Albania" is a rather redundant headline, considering Albania itself is way off the beaten path. Nonetheless, journalist Besar Likmeta does a good job explaining how the Ministry of Tourism is trying to rebrand the country as an attractive vacation destination by focusing on the natural wonders Albania has to offer.
The country's "unsullied mystique" is perfect for ecotourism, for example, as well as outdoor adventure sports. A recently created NGO, Outdoor Albania, is already operating with this in mind. According to their website, Outdoor Albania, "organizes nature-friendly tours in Albania, promoting the protection of landscapes, bio-habitats, traditions and monuments." The company currently offers trekking, snow shoeing, mountain biking, white water kayaking, rafting, climbing and ski touring (ski touring because there are no ski resorts in Albania).
These are the first baby steps of an emerging travel industry. Wouldn't it be exciting to go and check it out yourself before it becomes just another over-touristed European country?